Ontario’s Ministry of Education is considering reverting to a 20-year-old version of the health and physical education curriculum, but the Limestone District School Board is asking the government to refrain from making any such change.
Trustees and senior staff at the LDSB recently wrote a letter to the ministry, urging them to keep the current health and physical education curriculum in place.
The current program, last revised in 2015, allows students to learn about topics such as gay marriage, gender identity, sexting and sexual consent. The curriculum from 1998, to which the Ford government wants to turn back the clock, wouldn’t include these topics.
In their letter to the Minister of Education, the Limestone District School board said, “the antiquated 1998 curriculum… does not support today’s students or families.”
The board also feels that the current curriculum is preparing young students to handle scenarios like sexual abuse. “Our students need to learn about the concept of consent and the vocabulary of body parts,” the letter continued, “so that they can speak clearly to police, and we can all work together as a community to prevent sexual abuse and ensure the safety and well-being of all of our students.”
In the letter, the board also included recent stats that were released by Kingston police, indicating that the city has seen a 53 per cent increase in sexual assault in 2017. The board feels that the current curriculum will help students in case they are caught in situations where they are being sexually assaulted, giving them the knowledge to describe and report these assaults to their parents or the police.
The tug-of-war between community members and groups who either support or oppose the current health and physical education curriculum continues, but the Limestone District School Board has decided to put forward their word of request, hoping to sway the government in their direction.