Public school board asks Ontario to maintain current sex ed curriculum

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board passed a motion Tuesday to ask the Ministry of Education to keep the revised health curriculum.

HWDSB passed a motion that supports maintaining the 2015 revised curriculum

"We're tired of writing letters," says Larry Pattison, Ward 3 trustee. Regardless, that's what the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board voted to do around the health and physical education curriculum Tuesday. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) is asking the Ministry of Education to keep the revised health curriculum for this September.

At a board meeting Tuesday, trustees supported maintaining the 2015 revised health and physical education curriculum until the new Ontario government has completed consultation of the curriculum.

"We have a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion that is foundational to our strategic directions," said HWDSB chair Todd White in a statement.

The board will write to the ministry urging it to maintain the 2015 revised health and physical education curriculum until the ministry has finished consulting with parents.
Board staff will also make sure posters and other messages around school identify HWDSB's commitment to equity, inclusion, and safe school environments as it relates to topics covered in the 2015 curriculum, but not in the 1998 one. They'll report back by Nov. 30.

It's a softer motion than Larry Pattison, Ward 3 trustee, wanted. Pattison originally planned to introduce a motion to defy the province. 

But HWDSB director Manny Figueiredo said that would have been out of order. Trustees can't direct teachers to defy the province, he said.

Pattison isn't confident a letter will make a difference either.

"We're tired of writing letters," he said. "There are many other issues in the past few years where I feel we should have been stronger."

Speqtrum Hamilton, meanwhile, is holding a "We're Going Rogue" series to teach students parts of the curriculum that have been omitted. The AIDS Network, YWCA Hamilton, North Hamilton Community Health Centre and the Sexual Assault Centre of Hamilton are co-organizers.  

The sessions are from 6 to 8 p.m. at the YWCA. Here's the schedule:

  • Aug. 8: Consent.
  • Aug. 15: Safer Sex.
  • Aug. 22: Truth and reconcillation.
  • Aug. 29: Youth action planning.

In the London area, the Thames Valley District School Board is seeking a legal opinion on how far teachers can go in teaching the health and physical education curriculum.


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