Learning like it's 1998: Ontario's throwback sex ed curriculum
Published Thursday, July 12, 2018 8:49AM EDT
Ontario will be rewinding the clock 20 years in its health classes this fall, after Premier Doug Ford made good on a campaign promise to scrap the province’s sex-ed curriculum.
That means Ontario’s school children will now be taught a curriculum that was developed before the legalization of same-sex marriage in Canada and predates Google, smartphones, social media and online bullying.
The vast majority of people hadn’t sent their first text in 1998 and the concept of sexting was at least seven years away from entering the lexicon.
The change means:
- Grade 1 students won’t learn the proper names for body parts or about non-verbal communication, including facial expressions and tone of voice;
- Grade 2 students will no longer be taught about changes to the body during development, or the concept of “no means no”;
- Grade 3 students won’t discuss same-sex relationships or families with two moms or two dads;
- Grade 4 students won’t hear about the dangers of online bullying or the posting of sexual images, or puberty;
- Grade 6 students won’t learn about masturbation or gender expression;
- Grade 7 students will no longer learn about the dangers of sexting, or about contraception, preventing pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections or anal and oral sex;
- Grade 8 students won’t learn about the gender spectrum: male, female, two-spirited, transgender, transsexual and intersex.
The curriculum was updated by the Kathleen Wynne government in 2015, but came under intense fire from religious and conservative groups, which opposed the discussion of homosexuality, gender identity and masturbation.
Ontario Education Minister Lisa Thompson says the government will soon begin consultations for a new curriculum.
In case you’ve forgotten how long ago 1998 was, here are some highlights:
- Canada was seven years away from legalizing same-sex marriage;
- U,S. President Bill Clinton denied he had "sexual relations" with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, but later admits he did and finds himself impeached;
- Google was founded by two Stanford PhD students;
- Mel Lastman is sworn in as the first mayor of the new megacity of Toronto, which takes in seven former municipalities;
- France last won the FIFA World Cup;
- assembly began on the International Space Station;
- Apple unveils the iMac and the iPhone is nine years away;
- U.S. approves Viagra as a treatment for impotence;
- The top-grossing movie was Saving Private Ryan;
- The most-watched TV show was ER (Netflix started renting DVDs through the mail in 1997 and began to stream 10 years later);
- “Too Close” by Next tops the Billboard Top 100, with Canadians Shania Twain (You’re Still the One), Celine Dion (“My Heart Will Go On”) and Sarah McLachlan (“Adia) all cracking the top 20.