TORONTO — The Official Opposition NDP said Wednesday it agrees with the arguments behind a court challenge trying to prevent Doug Ford from banning modern and updated sex-ed in Ontario schools. The NDP supports the groups’ assertions that the Ford government’s directive to teach an outdated curriculum violates rights and values protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) launched the challenge, which will be heard at the Ontario Superior Court Wednesday. They wish to prevent the Ford government from banning updated sex-ed, and forcing an outdated curriculum into classrooms — one written 20 years ago, in 1998.
“When children see themselves reflected in the curriculum, they thrive both educationally and socially. By deliberately removing LGBTQ identities and families from the curriculum, the Ford Conservatives puts students at risk. Any person, and any parent of a child who’s been a victim of cyber bullying, a survivor of sexual violence, or subjected to discrimination because of their LGBTQ identity, can tell you how devastating it is for a child’s mental and physical health to be denied information, empowerment and a safe space,” said NDP Critic for LGBTQ Issues, Terence Kernaghan.
“Doug Ford’s sex-ed curriculum ignores vital issues like sexual orientation, LGBTQ families and gender identity, which thereby stigmatizes LGBTQ students and parents. Children cannot be used as pawns in Ford’s regressive political game. Ford's directive makes some students feel less valued than others, while literally denying them the relevant information they need to be healthy and safe. Ford’s curriculum also ignores issues of online bullying and consent, which especially endangers women, girls, and LGBTQ individuals, who are disproportionately affected by sexual violence.”
Kernaghan said the fact groups have to fight the Ford government in court shows that Ford is actively ignoring students, parents, educators and research — instead listening only to members of his inner circle.
“Parents, educators, doctors, social workers, experts, and thousands of people who participated in the online consultation agree that Ford’s decision to force an antiquated sex-ed curriculum into classrooms puts kids at risk,” said Kernaghan.