Ontario puts controversial sex-ed proposal on hold

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Vancouver Sun

April 22, 2010 1:02 PM

Canwest News Service

LONDON, Ont. — Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty backed off Thursday from a controversial plan to alter the province’s sex-education curriculum after publicly funded Catholic schools said they wouldn’t implement the changes.

 Saying the strategy needed a “serious rethink,” McGuinty told reporters at a London, Ont., news conference that the current curriculum would remain in place for now while the proposed plan, which would introduce lessons on parts of the body in Grade 1, lessons on homosexuality in Grade 3, and discussion of vaginal and anal intercourse in Grade 7 would be “put back on the shelf.”

 “It’s become pretty obvious to us that we need to give this a serious rethink,” McGuinty said. “I know that parents are in fact, supportive of the idea that children should be taught about their body parts, and relationships, and those kinds of things, but they are obviously not comfortable with the proposal we’ve put forward.”

 The premier said the province hadn’t done enough to let parents know about the proposal. “The net we cast in terms of consulting was too narrow. And I think we have to get in to more communities to make sure that it is truly reflective of our diversity in Ontario.”

 Christian groups called on parents to protest the new content. Catholic schools had also said they would not follow the curriculum, contrary to McGuinty’s insistence that it applied to all publicly funded schools. That rift threatened to hurt McGuinty’s credibility ahead of the October 2011 election.

 The plan was set to take effect in classrooms this September.

 With files from Ottawa Citizen

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