Ontario government's lawyer says teachers can use own judgment in sex-ed lessons

January 11, 2019
Article Source
The Globe and Mail

Elementary-school teachers can use their "professional judgment" when developing lesson plans and have a duty to teach in a way that’s inclusive of all students, a lawyer for the Ontario government argued in a hearing that challenges the rollback of the province’s sex-ed curriculum.

Zachary Green told a panel of three divisional court judges on Thursday that while teachers are expected to follow an interim curriculum and assess students based on those grade-level expectations, they are also not prevented from drawing on resources, including the 2015 sex-ed document, which was repealed this fall by Doug Ford’s government.

“In following the 2018 curriculum, teachers in fact have access to a wide range of resources,” Mr. Green told the court.

His argument comes despite the Premier’s statements earlier this year in which he threatened to discipline educators who defied his government’s orders to use a 20-year-old sex-education curriculum, and launched a platform for parents to anonymously report concerns on what is being taught in classrooms. “Make no mistake, if we find somebody failing to do their job, we will act," Mr. Ford said in a statement in August.

The Ontario government directed school boards in August to scrap a 2015 sex-ed curriculum for Grades 1 to 8, developed by the previous Liberal government and containing references to same-sex families and consent. The government replaced it with a previous health and physical-education curriculum which includes a 1998 document on sexual health.

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