More than 100 concern citizens gathered outside Kathleen Wynne's office on Sept. 2 to once again protest the pending implantation of the controversial revisions to the sexual education curriculum. Photo by Evan Boudreau. Photo by Evan Boudreau

Sex-ed opponents take protests to Liberal MPPs' offices

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  • September 2, 2015

Updated 03/09/15
TORONTO - The constituency offices of Ontario Liberal MPPs came under siege Sept. 2 as protesters opposed to the province's new sex-ed curriculum united to voice their displeasure with the program set to be taught in schools this year.

With the official start of the school year just days away, those opposed to the new curriculum gathered for mini-rallies outside of 103 of the 107 Liberal MPP's offices, with some sites attracting more than 100 protesters.

“We are not saying that there shouldn't be sex education,” said Ganweer Khan, a spokesperson for the Thorncliffe Parent Association that organized the protest outside of Premier Kathleen Wynne's Toronto riding office. “We've always had it, I was taught it, so it is nothing new to us. We are just saying (this curriculum) is not age appropriate.”

Among the areas of concern for Khan, who mediated the 11 a.m. demonstration, are the teaching of masturbation as an acceptable practice of self exploration, anal and oral intercourse and gender identity theory — topics that will be introduced to students before the end of Grade 7. Exposing children to these topics at such a young age will encourage them to become sexually active at an even younger age, said Khan.

“I don't want my young children exposed to those things,” he said. “We are trying to prevent things like teenage pregnancy. This is only going to make things worse.”

In Ottawa, about 50 demonstrators came to the office of Ontario Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur in the Vanier neighbourhood. Amy Beaudoin, who co-ordinated the demonstration at Meilleur’s office, said she believes parents should be the first educators of their children and the material in the sex-ed program is too “risqué” and being introduced at too young an age.

Beaudoin criticized the lack of consultation of parents, saying the one parent per school “cherry-picked” for the process was not adequate.  

“I hope that before school starts next week, brakes will be put on this program until adequate consultation has been done,” she said.  

She preferred, however, the curriculum would be “repealed altogether.”

Khan said that after months of protesting, he is now looking at homeschooling his two school-aged children.

“If this thing is going to keep going then for sure we are going to be homeschooling,” he said.

Khalid Mohammad also intends to home school three of his five children if the curriculum is not shelved before school begins Sept. 8. His two eldest children are already in high school.

“We feel that our children are not safe in the public school system,” he said. “Across Ontario thousands of people are participating (meaning) they are not sending their children to school in September.”

Mohammad said he is not opposed to sexual education entirely but simply “those things that cause indoctrination by forcing children to adopt a new lifestyle.”

It wasn't just parents of school-age children who held signs outside of the premier's office. Wendy Cassibault, a Toronto Catholic school teacher for 34 years, was among the protesters.

“This sex-ed program is so corrupt,” said Cassibault. “The things they are proposing in it, they will make the children sick in their soul.”

Cassibault, who taught at both Cardinal Newman and Mary Ward Catholic High Schools, said if she was still teaching, being forced to teach this curriculum in any capacity would be enough to make her quit.

“I would not teach a program that is against my religious beliefs,” she said. “There is no way that you can put it under a Catholic lens. I would have had to leave my job.”

Khan said protesters intend to gather once again on Sept. 7 to voice their opposition to the curriculum.

(With files from Deborah Gyapong, CCN.)

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