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.”
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