MP's letter critical of Ontario sex-ed curriculum has Brampton teacher fuming

A Brampton teacher is questioning why her MP sent her a letter in which he expressed "grave concerns" about the province’s sexual-education curriculum.

Grade 5 teacher says letter 'dismissive of transgender community'

Yasmine Sarruf, a Grade 5 teacher in Brampton, is upset by a letter she received from local MP Kyle Seeback. She claims the letter fosters people’s ignorance and fear of the transgender community.

A Brampton teacher is questioning why her MP sent her a letter in which he expressed "grave concerns" about the province's sexual-education curriculum.

Yasmine Sarruf told CBC News she was shocked that MP Kyle Seeback, the Conservative candidate running in Brampton South, was "meddling in provincial matters like curriculum." 

Sarruf, who provided CBC News with Seeback's undated letter, said she was also disturbed by some of the language and wording in his letter.

"It verged on being dismissive of the transgender community," she said, adding that the letter fosters "people's ignorance and fear of that community."

In his letter, Seeback wrote that "the new curriculum proposes to teach concepts that appear to be inappropriate for the age at which they would be taught."

Seeback, who has served as MP for Brampton West for four years, also wrote that "gender identity is a concept that tells us that people can identify with a gender opposite to that which they were born."

In her strongly worded letter, Sarruf told Seeback his definition "has undertones of disbelief that someone can even truly be transgender."

The Grade 5 teacher says her students read "books with characters who might be transgender, books that have a same-sex family in it.

"Kids are so accepting," Sarruf said. "And I think that's something that some people don't understand. If they just came and watched a lesson, they would see it's not scary, nobody freaks out, [the students are] just like, 'Okay, cool.'"

She says "unless [the students] are taught to hate, they come in with open hearts and they're willing to accept."

Voice of constituents

In a statement issued Tuesday, Seeback said it's his job to be his constituents' voice in Ottawa. 

"I don't tell them what to be concerned about, they tell me what they're concerned about," Seeback said. "And they are very concerned about this new curriculum which they were not consulted on. Premier Wynne needs to be held accountable for her policies that affect our children and that are of great concern to many parents."

On Monday, the Ontario government released a new ad for the controversial sex-education curriculum that touches on areas including same-sex marriage, sexting and consent. The 30-second ad will air for the next four weeks.

Education Minister Liz Sandals' press secretary, Alessandra Fusco, told CBC News that any parents who have questions or concerns about the curriculum should raise them with the teacher or school principal. Fusco said parents should also contact the school if they want to withdraw their child from the class over content they find objectionable.

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