Sex Ed Curriculum Protest at CCI

High School students at Cobourg’s Collegiate Institute joined a Province wide demonstration to protest the reimplementation of the 1998 Sexual Education curriculum imposed by Premier Doug Ford.  About 200 students of the school’s 1100 pupils stayed out of class at 1:00 pm today to sign a petition and hear speakers critical of the change (see photos below).  Principal Jeff Kawzenuk observed the action and commented to me that the two Sexual Education curricula were not a whole lot different for high school students but it was evident that many of the students were passionate about the issue.  However, in a press release, walk-out organizer Elsa Deperasinski spelled out how the 1998 curriculum doesn’t include topics such as: same-sex marriage, gender identity, online safety and consent.  She also provided details of other speakers who spoke about the rights of minority groups (see link to her Press Release below).  Elsa said she was thrilled to see the support of her fellow students and was glad to see a large crowd talking and learning about this issue. “I didn’t know what to expect, but the overwhelming crowd of young supporters was astounding! I want to encourage young people to always stand up for what they believe in, even if they are in the minority. It is important for students to use their unique perspectives to inspire change.” 

Organizer - Elsa Deperasinski
Organizer – Elsa Deperasinski

She said that as well as CCI, schools in Peterborough, Oshawa and Whitby were also participating.

CTV News estimated that 100 Ontario high schools joined the protest with about 40,000 staff and students participating. The Star estimates slightly less.

Also supporting the protest was a representative from the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre.

Petition that was signed

We The Students Do Not Consent

Save Ontario’s Sexual Education Curriculum Petition

TO the Legislative Assembly of Ontario

WHEREAS the 2015 curriculum was designed and written by experts in child development, internet safety, police and social workers, in consultation with approximately with 4,000 parents, 700 students, 2400 teachers

WHEREAS the 2015 curriculum has been taught for 3 years and protects the students

WHEREAS it teaches personal safety, healthy relationships based on mutual respect and consent, and is inclusive of all children and youth residing in Ontario, and

WHEREAS we want to show Premier Ford that the students and faculty of Cobourg Collegiate Institute in the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board want to continue the 2015 curriculum

We the undersigned petition Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

That all members of the Legis1ative Assembly of Ontario stand up for the health and safety of Ontario Students and call on Premier Ford to reinstate the updated 2015 Sexual Education curriculum.



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23 September 2018 9:34 pm

“Jeff Kawzenuk commented to me (J Draper) that the two sexual Education Curricula were not a whole lot different for High School students”

How can he possibly think that way when the “old” curriculum was implemented before the invention of the internet? In 2018, kids need to learn how to grapple with so many “new” issues such as on-line sexual harrassment, sexting, on-line bullying, chat rooms and many other challenges that didn’t exist when the “old” curriculam was drawn up. It’s tough being a teen today – and the considerable rise in the incidence of mental health problems among our young indicates how well they are coping with these complex issues. During the Harris era, social workers were eliminated from the high school “team”; I’m wondering what further changes Mr Ford will make in the system.

22 September 2018 12:09 pm

Take this from a student the 2015 has literally saved a life without learning about LGBT community and Consent things are gonna get out of hand. Let’s be honest these thing are poping up more and more. it gives us comfort to be able to talk about the stuff to explore new things my friend she had no idea who she was she thought she was an outcast weird no one has ever talked about it wasn’t something you talk about but when it came up in class during sex-Ed she realized it wasn’t weird or wrong as she thought.

Rusty Brown
Reply to  Lyra
22 September 2018 12:25 pm

Maybe we should be more concerned with “syntax education” as a priority.

Reply to  Rusty Brown
23 September 2018 9:43 pm

credit to Lyra for having the courage to comment – obviously she’s a caring friend. And shame on you, Rusty for being so off topic in your criticism.

manfred s
22 September 2018 11:00 am

and who can recall the public’s reaction when the “updated” curriculum was first introduced and implemented? Consultation is helpful to inform policy decisions but can never create an outcome which allows for every train of thought on issues that evoke emotional and intellectual responses that span an extremely wide and full spectrum of opinions. While the expectation to be heard and acknowledged is justified, the expectation that our singular or collective but selective opinion must prevail over that of any others is both unreasonable and undemocratic. Government’s rise and fall on the strength of their ability to combine differing and opposing views when establishing policy that affects all citizens. We promote and laud diversity and inclusion but not many cultures seek to include values of other cultures. The enormous range of differences in opinion created by cultural values alone makes any solution that satisfies a clear majority almost impossible. Cultures, by the very nature of their own values, are essentially exclusive rather than inclusive and that makes it nigh impossible to legislate all-inclusive laws and policies. The battle over this curriculum is just such a case in point. This battle can be seen as also being as much about ‘culture’ as it is about ‘education’. It seems there’s very little room for common ground and compromise of any meaningful sort and whatever the steps we take in any direction on this, we’re going to step on a whole bunch of toes along the way.

Walter L. Luedtke
22 September 2018 10:27 am

All this has very little to do with what kids should learn.
It has everything to do with religion in Ontario politics.
“Premier Doug Ford Majority Government. Praise God who heard our prayers and delivered victory for the sake of our children.” Charles McVety, the president of the Canadian Christian College.
Premier Ford is paying back for the support of a coalition of Evangelicals, Catholics, Muslims and Sikhs.
That coalition delivered the PC leadership and ultimately the Premiership.

Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
22 September 2018 10:50 am

“That coalition delivered the PC leadership and ultimately the Premiership.”
Are you sure it was that coalition that delivered the PC win? Do you think that victory had nothing to do with the fact that Ontarians were fed up with the Liberal Party’s lying, cheating, mismanagement, cover-ups, boondoggles, etc.etc.?

manfred s
Reply to  Frenchy
22 September 2018 11:16 am

however, Frenchy, dissatisfaction does not always translate into action in the voting booth. Complaining is one thing, and an easy thing at that, but actually doing something meaningful about one’s concerns is not as common as simply complaining. I wonder how many vocal and placard-waving ‘protesters’ actually made a call or sent an email, letter (or even tweet) to their government to express their views on the change of curriculum? Walter’s comment suggests that the power of religion is the force behind directed action that brings results and I’m inclined to agree. Religion is a concentration of power, based on values both voluntarily held and imposed, that is very effective in bringing about results, whereas personal or collective complaint and protest are usually sporadic and much less effective, like singular votes on a ballot. Who says religion has no place in governing?

Walter L. Luedtke
Reply to  Frenchy
22 September 2018 12:30 pm

“The Religious Right is Now Taking Credit for Electing Doug Ford Leader of Ontario’s PC Party.”
And my remarks are directed at Premier Ford’s personal courting of the religious Right.
The Conservatives would have won under another Premier, but none of the other leadership candidates had the support of the evangelicals and the other SO-CON religious groups.
Premier Ford is just dancing with the folks what brung him.

22 September 2018 8:40 am

I’ll bet that most of these protesters know as much about the subject as do their teachers. If only they put the same emphasis on learning MATH and WRITING, never see them protesting the really important subjects.

Reply to  Merle
22 September 2018 9:36 am

Sorry but was the curriculum of those subjects taken back to a previous century without any consultation?

These kids are free to protest what they want. Doug Ford and his band of out-of-touch voters should not dictate what sex-ed should mean to kids growing up in today’s much different world. This isn’t 1965 anymore.

Reply to  Durka
22 September 2018 10:20 am

Yes, the kids are free to protest whatever they want. My bet is they were encouraged to protest by their teachers and their OSSTF union bosses. As to the cirriculum itself, did Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals consult with parents before bringing in their “progressive” new cirriculum? There are thousands of parents across Ontario who are opposed, and were never consulted.

Rusty Brown
Reply to  Pablo
22 September 2018 1:08 pm

That manifesto sure sounds like it was written by someone who had lots of training and experience in putting together a legal document.

Reply to  Rusty Brown
22 September 2018 2:21 pm

Rusty, are you suggesting that the kids couldn’t (didn’t) develop this material themselves?
You posted “That may have been true before the invention of the internet, but now there is a vast array of information available…….Educating oneself is now an option.”
Kids today are very tech savvy and information smart. This is not the first protest/demonstration about topic and there is likely lots of presentation material available to use as a template. There are also many adults who do not agree with this policy, some of whom may be lawyers or otherwise familiar with developing this type of material.
Why do you think it is a problem if the kids had help?
Pablo posted “My bet is they were encouraged to protest by their teachers and their OSSTF union bosses”. Perhaps. This suggests that the kids are sheeple and can’t (don’t) think for themselves. I have faith in the kids figuring it out for themselves.
I think it is a great teaching moment and experience in grass roots democratic action.
Bravo Kids!

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Rusty Brown
27 September 2018 1:09 pm

A lot of “Whereas” in the manifesto format …..Reminds me of another one used in Cobourg on a regular basis.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Pablo
22 September 2018 2:21 pm

“cirriculum” a symptom of Ontario education.

Reply to  Pablo
23 September 2018 1:27 pm

I was one of the protestors and it’s funny because that’s not what happened. Students organized the whole thing and teachers only found out because we were talking about it..

John Draper
Reply to  Anon
23 September 2018 4:56 pm

This person (Anon) has broken two rules on this blog – using anon as a name and providing a false email address. But given the content, the local IP address and the use of Bell as an ISP, I am making a one time exception. Further violations from this person will be deleted as will this comment. Message: Don’t be a smart ass.

22 September 2018 6:50 am

Quite literally took sex-ed back to another century. Good job Dougie!

Reply to  Durka
22 September 2018 9:38 am

Look at those downvotes! The old fogies don’t like the kids to be taught about the gays and what not. Just like uncle Dougie.

Reply to  Durka
22 September 2018 10:44 am

Durka, these kids already know all in the sex-ed curriculum, let’s spend more time on subjects that will get them JOBS, like maths and science’s.

manfred s
Reply to  Merle
22 September 2018 11:34 am

well Merle, part of the problem might be that the kids actually believe they know everything already, just like we did way back when. However we now also know that they, (like many of us) know very little and some of what they ‘know’ is so far off the truth it puts them in dangerous territory on several fronts. I think there’s room for, and a definite need for some unbiased information that can only come to them via the education system and the curriculum is the only tool we have to deliver it. Having said that, it’s a long and complicated process to develop the best and most effective tool to do the job. I think what’s happening at the moment is the kind of see-saw progress that ultimately does develop those tools. Having forever felt that protesting is bunk and just panders to being rebellious, my view has changed somewhat because today’s government’s don’t always see the path to be followed unless there’s a groundswell of public reaction as demonstrated by a significant ‘demonstration’ and it gives them the ‘authority’ to change direction (the ‘we’re listening’ kind) when anything else would be seen as weakness and indecisiveness, both being something they really want to avoid at all cost.

Rusty Brown
Reply to  manfred s
22 September 2018 1:22 pm

“…unbiased information that can only come to them via the education system and the curriculum is the only tool we have to deliver it…”
That may have been true before the invention of the internet, but now there is a vast array of information available, biased, very biased or not. Educating oneself is now an option.

manfred s
Reply to  Rusty Brown
22 September 2018 2:21 pm

but, is there a difference between informing and educating, Rusty? I would say that information may be valid or invalid, correct or incorrect, biased or unbiased, accurate or not, it’s all just ‘information’ but we should be able to trust that ‘education’ is all of valid, correct, accurate and hopefully unbiased. The internet is not an educator, it is only a vast source of ‘information’ with little or no ability to provide the means of determining its value and by extension, of providing an education. Young minds are not equiped to make those judgements reliably and consistently.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  manfred s
22 September 2018 2:40 pm

I wonder how this sex ed introduced by the Liberals fits in with their oft mooted “Diversity is our Strength” motto.
Has anyone read/ heard any opinions from our ever increasing diverse culture “ New Canadians” population on this subject.
Perhaps this type of scenario may have assisted in the decision to home school becoming another educational option or separate schools with separate curriculums.

Walter L. Luedtke
Reply to  Bill Thompson
22 September 2018 7:23 pm

It fits.
Mr. Thompson would probably cotton to this new slogan for the PC Party – ‘Uniformity is our Strength’.
We would all act, think and look the same.
Was tried in Europe in the 30s. Ended in tears.
And btw if he really really really wants to know what Muslim women think of the new sex ed, try this:
Knock yourself out!

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
22 September 2018 7:41 pm

I don’t recall mentioning Muslims …..nice try Walter.
You don’t disappoint ..but so predictable !

manfred s
Reply to  Durka
22 September 2018 2:37 pm

and “old fogies” have as much right to their opinions and the ability and opportunity to express them without having to endure belittling, as do the young and the ‘with-its’, who would loudly complain if they were admonished for expressing theirs. To each their due, Durka.

Reply to  manfred s
22 September 2018 6:27 pm

I wouldn’t expect the ‘with-its’ (as you say) to dictate the sex education of the old-fogies, and would have an equal reaction if they did.