June 22, 2015

Peel board parent letter debunks myths on sexual health component of updated Health and Physical Education curriculum

​The Peel District School Board wants to ensure families have the accurate information they need to help them understand the Ministry of Education's updated Health and Physical Education (HPE) curriculum, which will be implemented in the 2015-16 school year.

"Over the past several months, some families have shared concerns with the board and school staff about inaccurate information being shared in our communities," notes Tony Pontes, director of education. "At the start of the 2015-16 school year, the board will provide families with a comprehensive HPE parent guide to help parents understand the changes and learn how it will be taught in the classroom. In the meantime, I encourage everyone to not believe the inaccurate information being shared, sometimes with the intention of misleading parents."

The following information will be shared in a parent letter that will be posted to school websites:

  • The updated curriculum WILL NOT encourage or teach students how to engage in masturbation, oral sex or anal sex. Students will be encouraged to delay sexual activity and taught that the only way to stay completely safe is to not engage in any sexual activity. 
  • The updated curriculum WILL NOT encourage students to consent to sexual activities.Students will learn about the importance of standing up for themselves and learn the skills they need to avoid or leave a situation that feels uncomfortable and respect when others want to do the same.
  • The updated curriculum WILL NOT teach students to reveal or touch private body parts on themselves or others. In grade one, children will learn the correct names of their body parts, so they can communicate clearly and ask for help in case of illness, injury or abuse. 
  • The updated curriculum WILL NOT teach students to become homosexual. Students will learn about the importance of respecting themselves and others, in all their diversity, including people of all gender identities, sexual orientations, mental and physical abilities, and social and cultural backgrounds. The board is committed to providing inclusive and respectful environments to help all students achieve to the best of their ability. To improve student success and achievement, we must ensure that all students know they are safe, valued, respected and included.
In the letter to families, parents are encouraged to read a government Myth vs. Fact document that clarifies what will really be taught in Peel classrooms next school year. The board's comprehensive HPE parent guide, which will be shared with families at the start of the 2015-16 school year, will include:
  • a grade-by-grade breakdown of what students will learn
  • information about the exemption process (including when and how families will be notified of topics being covered)
  • an explanation of teacher "prompts"
  • what has changed from the 1998 curriculum
  • resources for parents
The board is also developing resources for educators and will also share these with staff as school begins in the fall.

Adds Pontes, "I want to reinforce that our teachers are well-trained professionals who have been, and will continue to be, committed to teaching all aspects of the health curriculum in a sensitive manner that does not promote any personal views. New and revised elements of the sexual health curriculum will be presented in the same professional and sensitive manner that teachers have consistently demonstrated in the past. The sexual health component of the curriculum is typically taught in the second half of school year, after teachers have developed strong relationships with their students and have a clear understanding of their maturity levels. This helps to ensure the curriculum is taught in developmentally and age-appropriate ways."

Families can access the ministry's full curriculum and parent resource documents through the Peel board website at http://bit.ly/PeelHPE.
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Media Contact: Tony Pontes, Director of Education, [email protected], 905-890-1010 ext. 2006

Reference: Ryan Reyes, Communications Officer, [email protected], 905-890-1010 ext. 2652

 

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