As students head back to school today, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) announced it’s taking legal action against the Ontario government regarding the repeal of the 2015 sex-ed curriculum.
The ETFO says it is seeking an injunction to keep the modernized curriculum in place and to stop what it calls the government’s “snitch line” where parents can report non-compliant teachers.
“ETFO is seeking an injunction against the government to stop this unprecedented and unnecessary attack on kids and professional educators in Ontario,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond.
“Students need and deserve modern-day information and answers to their questions. This is about safety, inclusion and preparing students for the world of 2018, not the world of 1998.”
In August, Ford’s government said it ‘will act’ if teachers use the modernized version of the lesson plan put in place by the Liberals in 2015.
The modernized sex-ed program, which has been referred to as “controversial” and is opposed by social conservatives, covers topics like sexual orientation, same-sex relationships, sexting, and consent.
The ETFO says the government’s actions are in direct conflict with professional obligations that are enshrined within the Education Act and the Standards of Practice of the Ontario College of Teachers.
As for the parent “snitch line,” Hammond says the “ETFO feels it is an unnecessary waste of public funds that could go directly to schools.”
Hammond says the phone line ignores the systems already in place for parents and educators to deal constructively with issues at the school level, adding that it will become an outlet for bullies, hate and potentially a mechanism to out lesbian, gay, and bisexual educators.
“While ETFO pursues this legal action, we will continue to vigorously defend members who use their professional judgement to ensure they are creating safe and healthy classrooms for all students,” said Hammond.
ETFO also announced that it is seeking intervenor status in a case currently before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal filed in August by parents and students regarding the changes to the health curriculum.