TORONTO, ON February 23 2015 – The Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) objects to aspects of the newly released curriculum for Physical and Health Education in Ontario. Much of the curriculum addresses shared expectations on personal hygiene, physical fitness, and healthy living, without dispute. But, certain propositions seek to raise explicit issues at earlier ages or the discussion of sexual practices that are sinful to Catholics prior to the time when most children reach puberty. Examples within the teacher prompts abound, such as the introduction of gender identity in Grade 3, masturbation in Grade 6 or anal and oral sex and use of condoms in Grade 7. Parents are the first educators of their children and should retain vigilance over the age appropriateness and explicitness of certain concepts being taught at school. The forced exposure to references to sexual practices that are sinful to Catholics at a premature time to children will be of significant concern to parents of all faiths or no faith.
The CCRL rejects the notion that true parental consultation occurred. The phony consultation referred to by the Minister of Education consisted of a short questionnaire comprised of overly simplistic generalized questions, which is no substitute for a real exchange with the actual curriculum available. The Ministry knew that a real consultation would have met with serious objections to forced sex education at a premature age.
We are cautiously optimistic that the provincial government knows that at least for Catholics, we determine what is taught and how programs are delivered in our Catholic schools. It is the responsibility of Catholic School Boards to follow the guidelines of the Ministry of Education’s curricular documents while developing the detailed courses of study that ensure that all aspects of provincial curricula are in line with the faith and morals of the Catholic Church. This is a constitutional right under Section 93 of the Constitution Act that has been upheld on many occasions.
The CCRL urges the faithful to remind our Trustees and the Directors of Education of our Catholic School Districts that we must not implement any policy, or any curricular expectations, that violate Catholic teaching. We remind the government of our constitutional rights. Any radical imposition of teaching demands that conflict with the rights of Catholics to raise our children in accordance with our faith and morals will be vehemently opposed. The Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario (ACBO) has stated that they are working with the Institute for Catholic Education (ICE) to ensure that this is the case:
A group of Catholic educators will produce resources that support Catholic teachers so that the new curriculum is implemented in a way that is consistent with our Catholic teachings and appropriate within the context of a Catholic classroom. (Statement from Cardinal Thomas Collins re: Ontario Health & Physical Education Curriculum – February 23, 2015)
About the CCRL
Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. The CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization with a large nationwide membership base. The CCRL is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
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