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Canadian students stage walkout to protest outdated sex ed curriculum

Canadian students stage walkout to protest outdated sex ed curriculum

An Ottawa parent participates in the protest with elementary school students

Tens of thousands of Canadian students walked out of their schools en-mass to protest their outdated sex ed curriculum.

The walkout took place on Friday, 21 September.

The Toronto Star estimates that about 38,000 students from 75 different schools across Ontario participated.

In their own words

‘A walkout is a classic student protest strategy; it shows that we value something over our learning,’ 17-year-old Thea Baines told The Star.

Baines is one of the students who helped organize the protest.

‘In this case, we value a good education over having an outdated and not-inclusive education, which is what the Ford government is bringing back.’

The walkout was largely organized on social media. It was in response to the province’s repeal of the 2015 Health and Physical Education curriculum for elementary students. According to many conservatives, this curriculum was not ‘age appropriate.’

The 2015 curriculum was replaced with an older program, used between 1998 and 2014, which doesn’t address issues such as gender identity, same-sex relationships, and consent.

‘It will affect the next generation of adults and we want everyone to grow up learning about their bodies, consent, mental health and LGBTQ rights,’ Baines said.

‘We want to live in a Canada that values diversity and equality.’

‘Since I grew up around that, I don’t quite understand why we would not include that in our sexual education,’ 15-year-old Malikye Wyse, who is critical of the curriculum’s lack of focus on LGBTI rights, said.

‘There’s not really a difference between same-sex marriage and different-sex marriage, even if it looks like that. Love is love.’

Parent participation

Some parents even attended the protest to show their support. Wynne Hartviksen, whose 9th grade daughter Emma participated, is one such parent.

‘She had the benefit for grades 6, 7 and 8 of the 2015 curriculum, in the most formative years, and I saw the incredible positive impact of that curriculum on my daughter,’ Hartviksen said.

‘There were great conversations about consent that I honestly wish I could’ve had myself, even in university … Great conversations about gender diversity and LGBTQ issues, and (being) openly able to articulate questions that she had, to us as her parents.’

Protest images

Check out pictures from the student walkout below.

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