The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has strongly denounced the Ontario government’s decision to repeal the updated 2015 sexual health curriculum and will advise its members to continue to exercise their professional judgement when it comes to teaching all sections of the current curriculum.
“The government’s decision to revert to the 1998 Health and Physical Education Curriculum while initiating further consultation is irresponsible, discriminatory and jeopardizes the safety of the students that we teach,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond at the Federation’s Annual Meeting today. “Teachers will not be muzzled by a government whose political agenda takes precedence over the protection and education of their students.”
Since the government’s plan was announced, an unprecedented coalition made up of educators, parents, community groups, the medical profession, faith groups and legal advocacy groups has called on the government to continue to uphold the 2015 curriculum.
“We need to prepare students for the world of 2018, not the world of 1998. The government’s actions are in direct conflict with teachers’ fundamental responsibilities and obligations towards their students including the duty to ensure their safety and their fundamental human rights. These obligations are enshrined within the Education Act and the Standards of Practice of the Ontario College of Teachers and cannot be taken lightly.”
“The government’s actions are also in direct conflict with the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They infringe upon the freedom of speech of teachers to provide proper education to their students,” added Hammond.
“ETFO will vigorously defend members who continue to follow the 2015 Health Curriculum and will pursue all options to respond appropriately to the government’s reckless behaviour.”
The Federation has also instructed its legal counsel to intervene in any proceeding before the Human Rights Tribunal and provide full support and assistance to the applicant.
“We acknowledge the strong response of Ontario school boards concerning this issue and appeal to them to join us in this action by supporting teachers who demonstrate care and concern for their students. Our students deserve as much.”
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers and education professionals across the province. ETFO’s Building Better Schools education agenda can be viewed at buildingbetterschools.ca.