July 27, 2018 12:30 pm

Upper Grand School Board chair pens open letter on sex-ed curriculum

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The chairperson of the Upper Grand District School Board is responding to questions and uncertainty about the province’s decision to revert to the sex-ed curriculum that was in place before 2015.

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Linda Busuttil released an open letter on Thursday and said there are still many questions to be answered.

“As we await further clarification, we want to assure all families in the Upper Grand District School Board that our values and commitment to inclusion, diversity, safety and well-being remain steadfast,” she said.

Education Minister Lisa Thompson announced earlier this month that Ontario schools will go back to teaching the same curriculum they did in the late 1990s this fall while the government conducts consultations.

READ MORE: Ontario school boards haven’t heard anything from province on sex-ed repeal

The newer sex-ed curriculum, introduced three years ago, included warnings about online bullying, sexting, same-sex marriage, gender identity and masturbation.

Thompson later clarified that only a portion of the curriculum will be rolled back, and students will still be taught about concepts like consent, cyber safety and gender identity.

Busuttil said the school board is required to follow the curriculum that is approved by the government.

“However, there are many programs, initiatives and resources in our schools that go beyond the curriculum and focus on safety, well-being and inclusion, which we will continue to support and promote,” she said.

READ MORE: Doug Ford is returning Ontario to a 1998 sex-ed curriculum. Some teachers are fighting back

Busuttil said Upper Grand will continue to support the LGBTQ community and teach about gender issues and acceptance.

The board will also continue to educate students on internet safety, cyberbullying, healthy relationships and consent, she added.

Premier Doug Ford has said the sex-ed consultations will be the largest in Ontario history, but it’s not known when a new curriculum will be in place.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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