If a parent comes to you and says "I don't want my child learning sex ed," start by asking "Why? I would love to hear more about your concerns so we can work through this together."
I also suggest reminding them, "Would you rather your child learn from a trusted adult, or would you rather they get information from their friends or from the internet - which does not guarantee the content is accurate or safe?"
Make it a discussion, don't shut it down. Let's have collaborative conversations, even if we don't see eye to eye at first.
Teachers have an obligation to ensure family values are respected and upheld - teachers are encouraged to acknowledge that families and individuals have different beliefs and values that we should respect. Teachers also have an obligation to ensure their students are safe and healthy, which means discussing subjects that are based on the laws, rights, and human rights in Canada (e.g. marriage equality). This is outlined in our Ethical Standards by the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT).
Today will be marked as a day in history - the Ontario Ministry of Education has officially retracted the Human Development and Sexual Health (i.e. sex ed) curriculum.
This is devastating news to students, educators, and other supporters of the curriculum.
I was interviewed by Harper's Magazine to talk a bit about what the 2015 curriculum is actually about: harpers.org/blog/2018/07/northern-disposure-ontario-sex-ed-curriculum/
As you know, there are a lot of misconceptions about what is discussed in Ontario classrooms during the 'sex ed' unit, or officially the Human Development and Sexual Health strand in the Health and Physical Education curriculum.
Did you know that sex ed only makes up 10% of the entire Ontario Health and Physical Education curriculum?
Did you know that over 4,000 stakeholders (including parents) were consulted before the release of the new 2015 Health and Physical Education curriculum?
I have had the privilege to clear up some confusion and misconceptions about Ontario's sex ed and act as an advocate to keep sex ed alive in Ontario. You can see me featured in the following articles:
What does Doug Ford's plan to scrap the sex-ed curriculum mean for queer kids?, NOW Magazine, June 16 2018
The facts about Ontario's sex ed curriculum, CBC, April 18 2018
I had the absolute honour to be the guest host on CBC's Ontario Today to talk about Human Development and Sexual Health (or, better known as the 'sex ed' curriculum in Ontario. You can hear the radio episode here, or download it to listen on your commute to work!
Podcast URL: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/ontario-today/episode/15536701 www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/ontario-today/episode/15536701
I'm downloadable! I had the pleasure to be a guest on the new podcast Sex Ed Before Bed. I spoke about the Ontario sex ed curriculum and sex education in general.
You can listen to my podcast about sex education in Ontario here (episode 4): https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/id1265551689
Earlier this week I had the honour to be interviewed on Sex City Radio! The episode has been transformed into a pod cast, which is available here. The description of the episode is:
Cordelia interviews three local women doing innovative (radical!) things in the world of sex education:
-Carly Basian is teaching teachers how to teach sex education in Ontario!
-Ola Monica Skudlarska holds workshops and talks about sex and mental health, and we'll be talking primarily about sex as a coping mechanism, and
-Tynan Rhea is facilitating workshops on sex during and post- pregnancy.
Hope you enjoy!
Well... This is an incredibly complicated situation: https://www.thestar.com/yourtoronto/education/2016/05/13/toronto-school-offers-sanitized-sex-ed-amid-parent-concern.html
I want to start off by saying that, in theory, it is good to see that schools are accommodating requests to "tone down" the sex ed curriculum for those who are uncomfortable with it. Ontario prides itself on academic accommodation for various reasons, so it is not at all surprising to see this is happening with the sex ed curriculum.
But, this situation is still troublesome.
Firstly, the language of "sanitized sex-ed" is incredibly problematic. Sanitized implies that the current curriculum is "dirty" and needs to be "cleaned up," which is not the case.
Secondly, who are these accommodations for? Parents. Who are we teaching? Not parents! Many students are curious about the new sex ed curriculum and are eager to learn. Of course, we must respect religious views and personal outlooks, but our curriculum is not offensive - it teaches students information that has been empirically supported (the revised curriculum was developed by experts in the field, including psychologists, experienced teachers and sex educators). Not to mention, a lot of the controversial topics (e.g. gender identity and sexual orientation) is something that is embraced and celebrated in Canada. We have laws protecting folks who identify on any part of the spectrum of sexual orientation and gender identity, so it is fitting to talk about it with our students - who are not exempt from falling somewhere along the aforementioned spectrum.
Instead of hiding behind the wrath of enraged parents by developing a "sanitized" curriculum, this should be an indication that there is a powerful opportunity to educate parents themselves - not only about the truth of the curriculum, but also the content. Why are parents so afraid to have their child use the word penis and vagina, two anatomically-correct words? That's an important question to ask, and an important conversation to have. When we teach about "private parts" instead of penis, vagina, vulva, etc., students still know exactly what we're talking about (not to mention it is important for them to have the vocabulary to take ownership of their body and seek help if incidents of sexual abuse occur).
“If schools ‘accommodate’ at this early stage in the game, they are setting themselves up for real battles later on, and the only ones who are going to suffer are the kids.”
"I Don't Flush" is a campaign to help create awareness around items that should not be flushed down our toilets (and drains). There are many personal hygiene products that unintentionally (or intentionally!) get flushed down our toilets. Some common products related to sexual health that SHOULD NOT be flushed include:
- Sanitary pads
- Condoms and condom wrappers
- (While not listed on the website), dental dams should not get tossed into toilets!
Share this with your students to create a dialogue on environmentally friendly (well, friendlier) ways to dispose of these aforementioned items. There are also environmentally-conscious items women can use during their period, such as the The DivaCup.
I Don't Flush: http://idontflush.ca/personal-hygiene-products/
I am very excited to get back into research mode and present my thesis work at the Support of Physical and Health Educators (OASPHE) conference (http://www.oasphe.ca/home.php?a=welcome). See my poster presentation below!
Today, April 13 2016, is International Day of Pink!
The Day of Pink is the International Day against Bullying, Discrimination, Homophobia, Transphobia, and Transmisogyny across the world. We invite everyone to celebrate diversity by wearing a pink shirt and by organizing activities in their workplaces, schools and communities.
How to get involved:
Encourage your friends to wear pink
Organize a flashmob!