Sexual Education in the Central Okanagan
The evolution of sexual education classes appears to be on a different timeline in British Columbia.
The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario is seeking a court injunction to overturn the Ontario Government's decision to scrap the 2015 sex education program in favour of returning to the 1998 curriculum. The teachers say the decision violates a number of Charter rights, including equality and freedom of expression. They’re worried about the challenges of talking with kids using an outdated guideline, and about a ‘snitch line’ that’s been set up for parents to report teachers who refuse to go back to the 1998 program.
“I was disappointed to hear that they were going back to an old curriculum because I think we know that in every subject we need to be changing as things change,” commented Moyra Baxter, Chair of our local Central Okanagan School Board, District #23.
Baxter had to go back quite a few years to recall a time when changes in the sex-ed curriculum caused any uproar, “When we last discussed it nobody came to a meeting about it, at all. It was far different from what it was 20 years ago, actually more like 25 years ago, when people were so opposed to students even discussing these issues.”
Each BC school district shapes their sexual education program differently. At District #23, a team of specially trained instructors teach the Sexual Health Education Program, going from school to school.
Parents can also review the course outlines and have the option to withdraw their children.
Earlier this year there was some pushback from parents over a sensitivity training program for all teachers called SOGI, or Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. SOGI was designed as a guideline for teachers, for when everyday situations arise in the classroom that involve inclusiveness. “It can be a student that comes from a same-sex parent family. There has to be some sensitivity to that and this is what SOGI is all about. Making students feel safe in school,” said Baxter.