Peel school board states the facts on new sex education curriculum

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(Screenshot: peelschools.org)

BY KELLY ROCHE

Community leaders and agencies are endorsing a parental guide released Tuesday by the Peel District School Board relating to the province’s revised health and physical education curriculum.
“Facts matter,” said PDSB spokesman Brian Woodland, adding there has been “so much misinformation and inaccuracy” about the revised curriculum.
“We believe parents should make an informed choice based on the facts — that is what our students deserve,” he said.
The controversial new curriculum has drawn ire from conservative groups and sparked protests across Ontario.
The guide, Woodland said, provides factual information about the revised curriculum, actions the board has taken, and a grade-by-grade chart of what students will learn.
It will be given to parents of students in grades 1 through 12 and has been endorsed by multiple community and faith leaders.
The Region of Peel’s medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa said the guide will “help parents and guardians understand what the curriculum is and is not, and show how teachers and families can work together to help children make healthier choices.”
Amrita Kumar-Ratta from the Regional Diversity Roundtable said she was born in Canada and raised in Peel.
“I relate deeply to this tension,” she said.
At the same time “I believe an update of the HPE curriculum is an important way to capture and introduce students to today’s realities surrounding human development and sexual health,” said Kumar-Ratta.
Staff will be teaching the human development and sexual health component in spring 2016, with new letters sent home at each grade level a minimum of two weeks before sexual health is discussed.
“These actions are intended to build comfort for our families,” said director of education Tony Pontes.
“We want them to have the time to read the guide, build a trusting relationship with our skilled, sensitive and professional teachers, and make an informed choice.”

The guide outlines:

  • that the curriculum is not new and has been taught since 1998
  • professional staff teach in a sensitive, age-appropriate manner
  • there will be only two to five lessons per year

Translated versions of the guide will be available online at a later date in the top languages spoken by Peel families: Arabic, Chinese, French, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Spanish, Tamil, Urdu, Vietnamese.

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