Textbook used by Ontario schools claims Israel uses child soldiers

Textbooks used by about 800 elementary schools in Ontario are in the process of being corrected over a false claim that Israel uses child soldiers.

Jewish human rights organization, B'nai Brith Canada, is calling for an apology from the Ministry of Education.

"We're asking for leadership," says CEO Michael Mostyn, "we're asking for assurances that not one textbook will remain on September 5th, when school once again begins."

A letter, signed by Education Minister Mitzie Hunter, was sent to B'nai Brith Canada last week. It reads in part, "The Ministry of a Education takes the correctness and accuracy of information provided in learning resources very seriously."

In a statement to NEWSTALK 1010, the ministry says, "we've been working with the publisher to destroy the current inventory of the textbook and reprint the incorrect page for new text books. In the interim, all affected schools have been notified about this inaccuracy and replacement stickers have started to be sent to cover the error with revised text on the page in the textbook."

It's not enough for Mostyn.

"We're demanding follow-up," he says. "This false information has been taught for three years now to grade six students across the province and it can't continue any further."

He notes that the Toronto District School Board has already been in touch with the organization and has promised to correct its books before the new school year. 

B'nai Brith Canada is asking parents to check their child's copy of Canada and the Global Community in September and send them an email if the issue hasn't been corrected. The email address is textbook@bnaibrith.ca.

The full statement from the Ministry of Education is below:

We take the correctness and accuracy of the information provided in school textbooks very seriously. Since this error was identified, we've been working with the publisher to destroy the current inventory of the textbook and reprint the incorrect page for new text books.

In the interim, all affected schools have been notified about this inaccuracy and replacement stickers have started to be sent to cover the error with revised text on the page in the textbook. 

The Minister responded to B'Nai Brith last week with the attached letter.

We're very engaged with this situation as we want to ensure that students have correct and accurate information.