Ottawa

Ottawa high school students to walk out over sex-ed curriculum

Students across Ottawa have organized school walkouts for Friday afternoon to protest the government's changes to the sexual education curriculum, among other issues. We asked three why they're taking part.

We asked 3 students why they plan to leave class in protest Friday

Quinn Jeffery-Off, Zella James and Anna Barber plan to walk out of class Friday afternoon in protest of the curriculum changes. (Brett Throop/CBC)

Students across Ottawa have organized school walkouts for Friday afternoon to protest the government's changes to the sexual education curriculum, among other issues.

High school students are still being taught the updated sex-ed curriculum, but Premier Doug Ford has ordered that elementary students be taught the curriculum from 1998 instead.

We talked to three students at Glebe Collegiate Institute who plan to take part in today's walkout about why they're protesting for sex education.


Quinn Jeffery-Off

Quinn Jeffery-Off said the sexual education he received with the new curriculum in elementary school — before the Ford government scrapped it — was enormously helpful.

"It really helped me as young queer kid, and I want to do for the same kids like me who are [going through] that now," Jeffery-Off said. 

High school students will still be taught the new curriculum, but Jeffery-Off said that's not the point.

"We need to stand up as youth for youth," Jeffery-Off said.

"I think that is what is important about this walkout." 


Zella James

Zella James said the fact the curriculum now being taught to elementary students doesn't cover issues around consent is a significant problem. 

"I think consent is already a huge issue in our society," she said.

"And it would be a huge knowledge gap if students weren't taught that."

She said the updated curriculum was eye-opening for her, because it taught her about the LGBT community and led her to realize how little she knew before.

"We weren't taught that and we can't learn it unless someone tells us about it."


Anna Barbour

Anna Barbour said she has siblings currently being taught the out-of-date curriculum.

"I have two younger brothers, and currently their education is being affected," she said.

"I think [the government's decision] is a real downgrade of education."

With files from Brett Throop

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