October 26, 2017 4:13 pm
Updated: October 27, 2017 4:47 pm

Alberta Catholic superintendents respond to criticism of proposed sex-ed curriculum

A war of words has sparked between the premier and Jason Kenney over sex-ed instruction in Catholic schools.

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Catholic schools in the province are denying claims that the proposed sex-education curriculum they are working on would not make consent an important part of their teachings. They also say there are other misconceptions out there.

READ MORE: If Catholic school sex-ed plan is as advertised, it won’t be taught, Notley says 

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Former head of the Council of Catholic School Superintendents of Alberta, Bonnie Annicchiarico, said Wednesday in a phone interview with 630 CHED that consent is a primary issue.

“I can’t imagine that any educator or any human being, Catholic or non-Catholic, would even consider that consent would not be the number one factor. It certainly is in any of the conversations that we’ve had about human sexuality in the wellness curriculum.”

“The number one basic minimum is consent between two adults.”

Annicchiarico said Catholics also believe that commitment, a loving relationship, and ideally sex being within a marriage are also fundamental.

She said Catholic school boards in Alberta want to teach everything that would be in the standard provincial curriculum, but supplement it — not replace it — with what they are developing.

WATCH BELOW: Danielle Smith and Angela Kokott weigh in on the controversy surrounding the proposed sex-ed curriculum from Catholic school officials

READ MORE: Kenney says it’s not up to Premier Notley to dictate how Catholic schools teach sex education

The CCSSA said other concerns raised in the media this week were not as portrayed.

Current council chair Karl Germann said in Wednesday’s call that LGBTQ students would not be hurt by the proposed Catholic curriculum.

“Catholic schools have been working (on this) for years, even prior to the ministry coming forward with a bill to ensure that our schools are inclusive, loving and caring of all of God’s children.”  Germann said that didn’t have to be legislated for them.

“It doesn’t matter whom you are, we want to make sure that you’re loved and taken care of. We continue to take care of the kids that are placed in our care by their parents.”

Annicchiarico said contraception would also be discussed as spelled out by the province.

“We put it in a perspective that we believe brings some deeper thinking to it. The fact that contraceptives exist and are necessary in some people’s lives will be a fact. From a Catholic perspective, we’re hoping that chastity will be a choice, that there will be some real thought put into decisions that involve students getting sexually active.”

READ MORE: Edmonton Catholic school trustee says gaps in sex-ed classes could be putting students at risk

Germann likened it to the way schools teach world religion through a Catholic perspective.

“When students are allowed to compare and contrast different ideas that are out there, students learn more and develop positions. And often they develop a position that is in alignment with the church.  Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.”

The Catholic boards are expected to present their proposed wellness curriculum to the province in mid November.

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