TORONTO — Ontario's Progressive Conservative government will keep consent, sexting, same-sex relationships and gender identity in its new health curriculum, but will shift some lessons to different grades.
"The Liberals used our classrooms to conduct social experiments on our children," Minister of Education Lisa Thompson told reporters at the Ontario Science Centre Friday.
"We did what the Liberals were afraid to do ... We threw the doors open to real, meaningful public and parental input," she said, unveiling the new health and physical education plan and other changes to class sizes and funding.
Premier Doug Ford promised to repeal the previous government's sex education curriculum, which he said was "based on ideology," during last spring's election campaign. Shortly after taking office, his government scrapped the updated lesson plans and left teachers to use an interim curriculum while they re-did consultations.
The Liberals used our classrooms to conduct social experiments on our children.Minister Lisa Thompson
The new PC plan includes all the topics that generated controversy when former premier Kathleen Wynne first introduced the updated curriculum in 2015.
The Liberal curriculum introduced Grade 3 students to the concepts of same-sex relationships and transgender identities while learning that differences make people and families unique.
Now, students will first learn about sexual orientation in Grade 5 and gender identity in Grade 8. Grade 1 students will still learn the proper names for genitalia; Consent will be introduced in Grade 2; Sexting will be introduced in Grade 7.
Thompson said the biggest complaint her government heard during their consultation was that topics were not age appropriate.
"We've addressed that and we're moving forward," she said.
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Parents who disagree will be able to take their child out of class for those lessons, the minister said. Parents could always do that.
Thompson hinted that she knows social conservatives, who protested the Liberal curriculum and have protested her government for not repealing enough of it, won't be happy.
"We know not everyone will agree with every single part of our plan,' she said at the announcement.
"I did not come here today to rehash the campaign. I came here today to deliver an education plan that works for Ontario."
Opposition MPP Marit Stiles said she found the changes to sex education concerning.
"I think we should be making sure our students are safe and supported in their classrooms as early as possible," Stiles told reporters.
"I'm going to be looking for the details of what's going to be taught."
Earlier on HuffPost: