Today’s letters: The birds and the bees

A part to play

  • Schools must act as a counterpoint to the pornography-saturated Internet, which teaches kids that sex need not be consensual, need not involve courting, foreplay or fair play, and that no matter how attractive a person is, they can become more so by obtaining surgical implants, waxing off their body hair and decorating themselves with tattoos. The notion that informing children about the variations in human sexuality will overwhelm them is nonsense. Children have a way of blocking information that is beyond their level of comprehension. The pornification of society needs to be challenged at all levels of learning.
    Ron Charach, Toronto.
  • The obvious answer is yes. But what form should that education take? That is a better question for the school council chairs, parents, teachers, students, and your readers. Of course the curriculum should use the correct terminology for body parts and be developmentally appropriate. It should teach something quite simple that is regrettably unacceptable in todays’ schools — to treat others the way you want to be treated. If that was taught in our schools, they would be more welcoming, accepting and safer places to learn.
    Jane Wright, Chatham, Ont.
  • Schools have a duty to society to teach age-appropriate children about human anatomy and sexual procreation. There is absolutely no justification whatsoever for publicly funded schools to teach about sexual deviance. Who has the right to define what constitutes sexual deviance? I can assure you it is not Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne or any school board officials.
    Gordon Akum, Toronto.
  • Schools have a role to play in educating kids about sexuality, but the real issue is who should be doing the teaching and when. Programs need to be taught by competent educators. Understanding the student’s readiness to learn is also paramount, as children develop differently. Teaching sex education effectively needs more than just “materials created by experts and based on evidence,” as Ontario Education Minister Liz Sandals states. It needs to be taught by well-prepared, highly skilled teachers who are comfortable delivering the program. Otherwise, it will do more harm than good .
    Catharina Gasser, Toronto.
  • Sexuality is so important in any society that schools should teach it. The lessons should concentrate, not only on the mechanics of sex, but on the development of babies and the financial and social requirements needed to care for them. Perhaps most importantly, the lessons should include the spiritual and emotional loss of having sex for fun, for a physical release or to keep up with group expectations. Students must learn that sex in a secure relationship, with love and respect, is qualitatively superior to casual sex.
    Jonathan Usher, Toronto.
  • Yes. Most parents never broach the subject, until daughters menstruate  or sons ejaculate on the sheets.  Educators must cover sex education before children learn it from their friends. It must be simple, engaging and teach health issues and cleanliness for younger students and save the taboos areas for the seniors.
    Madeleine Ross Salter, Stoney Creek, Ont.

Parental role

  • We live in times where our kids can already download the hottest movie of the year — 50 Shades of Grey — without us even knowing. I bet most parents have not talked with their kids to prepare them for what they will see. Now the line has been drawn and we parents have to get our acts together to have our kids prepared for what they will hear in school. If we want our values heard, we either teach them before they see or hear it for themselves, or send them to a school that will do it the way we want.
    Dianne Wood, Newmarket, Ont.
  • Schools have always had a role to play in educating kids about sexuality. The schools that I attended many years ago in the Bible-belt of the Fraser Valley in B.C. made sure that the parents were onside with everything that was taught about sexuality in the public-school system. It was not taught until Junior High School. It was all about the birds and the bees, and how it related to human sexuality. I am fully aware that times have changed. What has not changed is that the parents of these kids should be consulted on what is taught, and be in agreement.
    Fred Perry, Surrey, B.C.
  • Parents are the ones who should be at the forefront of any sex education taught in the schools. Unfortunately, bureaucrats, lobby groups and people who have never had an ounce of parenting experience seem to be running the show. The implementation of this radical agenda by this government has further diminished the role of moms and dads, to the point where their function for all intents and purposes has been basically reduced to reproduction.
    Stephen T. Flanagan, Ottawa.

Wrong focus

  • The interests of the students of Ontario would be much better served if the Government showed at least as much concern over the appalling EQAO scores in basic literacy and math as it does over introducing the sex-ed curriculum.
    Robin Hill, Brampton, Ont.
  • It’s possible that my worn reliance on the birds and bees to initiate sexual education may be due for an update. However, I am concerned about seeing our elementary school educators take on yet another experiment at the cost of further ignoring the fundamentals for which their jobs were created — reading, writing, arithmetic and history. Performance in these fundamental areas has become a farce. I am not convinced that the desired results — even if we knew what they were — are worth the continued neglect of these very important priorities.
    R. Fuschi, Windsor, Ont.
  • The way Ontario’s curriculum is being presented as a fait accompli, shows a complete disrespect for the parents. The condescending attitude that we are not capable of knowing how and when to introduce these topics to our children shows the extent to which the ministry of education will go to have control over our children, whom we are given the precious responsibility to protect. Sexting, bullying and Internet safety are all good things to discuss in school, but considering that the education system is so lacking in teaching the basic subjects, such as math, English and science, they would do well to increase the time spent on teaching these subjects to their students and leave the parenting to the parents.
    Pat Bester, Toronto.
  • I wish the Ontario government had utilized its resources to improve the education system that is failing our children. Sadly, it is indulging meaningless issues that have no benefit whatsoever, except to promote sex, even to toddlers. I wonder what the government’s real agenda behind all this is. I was embarrassed when I visited Kenya. Educators there could not believe how weak our educational system is. Our children can’t compete with their counterparts in that Third World country. Why, then, wouldn’t Ontario’s education minister focus more on what would benefit our children?
    Abubakar N. Kasim, Toronto.

More time

  • The mandated program along with the new learning materials will not mean much unless trained and committed practitioners champion the classes. Regardless of what politicians and planners may sprout, the success of any such program rests squarely in the hands of the individual teacher. So, how will new teachers be trained, and what kinds of workshops and in-house training will be offered to current? Further, how will administrators deal with the students whose parents have decided that such instruction is not appropriate? Jamming this program through with a September 2015 start date is asking for failure. More time is needed to train, discuss and to familiarize teachers with the material.
    Jon Bradley, Montreal.

Right Track

  • Some years ago, my wife knew she was on the right track when our local elementary school introduced sex education. On the first day, our son arrived home and said, “guess what, mom, everything you told me was true!”
    Alan Woodland, Maple Ridge, B.C.

Fine-tune the curriculum

  • Schools do have a role to play in this important issue, but there seems to be a lot of age-inappropriate information being shoved down kids’ throats. One example is anal sex. As there are a myriad of different beliefs and cultures involved, there needs to be much more thought given to the process and what information is being passed on to credulous, malleable children, and when.
    Jerome Henen, Vancouver.
  • It is hard to disagree with the idea that sex education should form part of the primary school curriculum. The timing, scope and nature of the curriculum are what drives dissent. Rather than have a fulsome and open debate on the subject, the Ontario government chose to “control” consultation and withhold details about the curriculum until a politically opportune moment. The whole process smacks of a condescending, elitist government lacking the confidence to defend their sex-education program.
    Robert Tesskey, Ottawa.

Keep it out of the classroom

  • I really believe that parents should be the ones teaching children about sex, especially since it is such a controversial subject among families of different social, religious and cultural backgrounds. The schools should encourage parents to talk to their children at different stages of their development and perhaps offer helpful material, but further than that, it is not their place.
    Laura Van Bakel, Peterborough, Ont.
  • Sex education should have been left in the hands of. The reason schools started teaching sex education in the 1980s is because government decided that parents were not doing the job properly. They based this decision on the fact that there was an increase in the number of young girls becoming pregnant before they were married. You cannot help to notice that since the government has gotten involved in the education of our children about sexuality, the results are very concerning. Just look at the stats showing the increase in sexually transmitted diseases, the increase in the number of single-mother families, the increase in sexual abuse, pornography and prostitution, just to name a few
    Rhonda Wood, Brampton, Ont.
  • I do not believe schools should ever have been given this mandate. The banal excuse given is that parents won’t teach their children, so we (the teachers) need to pick up the slack. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you query them, most teachers are extremely uncomfortable teaching this subject matter to their students. To make matters worse, the Ontario government has proposed this highly explicit sex-ed material for its teachers to use. I can only imagine the squirming. The people who brought these children into the world are more than capable to teach them about this delicate topic.
    Maria Doll, Calgary.
  • The primary educators of children are parents. Schools exist to support them, not supplant them. Those best people to deal with the delicate subject of sex are those most familiar with the development and intelligence of the child, in a private setting — in other words, by their parents. Schools have no business in this arena.
    Lawrence Jardine, London, Ont.
  • The duty of our teachers is to teach our children reading, writing and arithmetic, not sex. The liberal of yesterday affirmed his dictum that the government has no business in the bedroom. But our liberals of today want our children to hear and to see what happens in the bedroom. The Ontario government is usurping the authority and the responsibilities of the parents.
    John Stefan Obeda, London, Ont.
  • The arrogance and condescension of the left’s “progressive” social and moral agenda knows no bounds. Every step is one directly in opposition to the natural family, with the state increasingly replacing the role of parents. The “it’s all good” morality of these social engineers is simply candy-coated immorality.
    Iain G. Foulds, Spruce Grove, Alta.
  • The government’s “same size fits all” messaging cannot possibly accommodate the wide range of secular and religious views that each and every parent of school-age children holds. If schools teach one thing, and parents another, how will this not result in confusion for the children and possibly lead to the erosion of their respect for either the teacher or the parent whose views about sex do not align with the child’s own evolving life lens? There are some things that a teacher can and should teach — like math, grammar, etc. — but sex-ed is one topic that belongs to the parents.
    Gene Balfour, Thornhill, Ont.
  • Although the “Health and Physical Education Curriculum” recognizes that “Parents are the primary educators of their children,” it negates that statement by saying that, “the most effective way to enable all students to learn about healthy and respectful relationships is through the school curriculum.” This assumes that parents are negligent in their responsibilities to their children. Today’s parents are well educated and informed and very involved in their children’s lives. Therefore, they are best equipped to teach their children about sex, values and morality in an informed, sensitive and age-appropriate way, without the intrusive “help” of the government.
    Renate Roy, Toronto.
  • The entire realm of sexual knowledge is the right and the choice of parents. They should teach their children about sex and all of its many subtexts as they see fit. Discussions and teachings around sexual mores and politics are an intimate family topic that has no place in the school curriculum. Surely families have an inherent right to privacy in matters of sexual teachings. The sex education’ program is too much, too soon, in the hands of too many and appears to be social engineering of our children by the state. Parents are the rightful teachers of sex education.
    Evelyn Keep, London, Ont.
  • Does Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne really believe that, after 200,000 years of evolution, people have yet to learn about how to teach children about sex? Does this woman believe that the state can do a better job than parents, the playground and natural curiosity? Ms. Wynne has ordered the state to blunder into our classrooms, dump predigested and regurgitated gunk into the minds of our children and expect what — new and improved citizens? Fewer rapes? Just when we think that Liberals have done their worst in social engineering, the McGuinty/Wynne juggernaut launches itself into our Ontario classrooms with this curriculum from hell.
    Gerry Porter, Ottawa.
  • We live in such a sex-sodden society. The kids probably know it all, and a great deal more, which they have learned from books, TV, films and their technological devices. Ontario’s new curriculum sounds like an early education, in the classroom, in sexual deviation.
    Millie Penny, Mississauga, Ont.
  • Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne will not usurp my role as a mother and grandmother. Parents are responsible for their offspring and I will instill my well-grounded values in my family. The new sex education curriculum borders on a form of child abuse for the innocent little children.
    Doreen Shaw, Burlington, Ont.
  • This is another impingement of the state into the family’s sacred responsibility of teaching sexuality to children. They often making mistakes, but it are their mistakes to make. Get tough there moms and dads. Make the experts unemployed.
    D. McClure, Edmonton.
  • Why would the average public school teacher, who probably got his/her sex education from the movies and from friends, be considered qualified to teach kids about sex? Sex education, like religion, should be taught by qualified instructors in Sunday schools.
    William Bedford, Newmarket, Ont.
  • I conclude that teachers have too many responsibilities. So, I am in favour of rephrasing the question, so that it comes out this way: Are you in favour of transferring more responsibilities to teachers, from families. My answer to that is this: It is not a good idea.
    David W. Lincoln, Edmonton.
  • Every child needs to learn about sexuality. Each child who goes to school learns timetables, taught to them in different ways according to their learning style. Imagine how much more attentive we need to be with teaching children about sexuality, a much more delicate subject than math. Each child needs to hear about this from their parents because they know their child and how to best introduce this subject. Some children are ready at an earlier age than others and our society needs to be aware of this.
    Sarah Rebello, Toronto.