Why should we #supportsexed?
That's the question raging in Ontario this week, as parents and school officials in the province debate a new health and physical education curriculum that expands the range of sexual education topics to kids the parents deem too young. On Monday, a Toronto public elementary school's classrooms stood nearly empty, reported CBC News, as parents objected to the change and pulled out over 1,000 students from school. According to a letter posted on Facebook, parents are objecting to what they consider an "age-inappropriate" curriculum.
The curriculum, which was announced by the Ministry of Education in February, won't be implemented until September 2015. It is updated from its 1990s iteration and includes topics such as "consent, healthy relationships, mental health, online safety and the risks of 'sexting,'" the Ministry of Education noted in its announcement.
It also acknowledges content involving marriage equality, sex in the digital age and social media trends, notes writer and Canada parent Karyn Pickles on The Huffington Post. For the younger kids, the focus is on understanding their own body parts and "skills for healthy relationships with peers and families, like showing respect."
If it all sounds pretty rational, that's because it seems to be — and organizations like Planned Parenthood are hitting back against the protests and hysteria with a campaign of their own. On Monday, tweets containing #supportsexed started flowing. They demonstrate just how many good reasons we have to teach sex ed:
To encourage female empowerment
To combat shame
To counter the spread of misinformation
To help women control their reproductive fates
To embrace all gender and sexual identities
To introduce the concept of "consent"
To reminds kids that their choices are their own — and they matter
The protests over the new sex ed curriculum has never been better proof that we need it.