The LBPSB PC hosted a session on May 10, 2018 with Marie-Eve Claude, LBPSB Assistant Director of Student Services, has been invited to speak to the LBPSB parent communityabout the implementation of the Sexuality Education program into next year's curriculum. Marie-Eve was the LBPSB lead on the Sexuality Education Pilot Program at LBPSB and is primarily responsible for this implementation. Here are some questions and answers that came out of that session.
Q: If the curriculum is progressive, for example what is learned in one grade builds off of what is learned in grades before it, then what happens to students who are in later grades when the curriculum is implemented?
A: Missed topics/content will be reviewed.
Q: Given that the curriculum is mandated by the Ministère, what will the governing board be approving?
A: The governing board cannot argue the content itself, but can approve how the content will be taught and by whom.
Q: Will the implementation of the curriculum be unique to each school?
A: Yes, as each school is responsible for its own implementation of the curriculum, including how the material is taught and by whom.
Q: If the children will not be tested how will effectiveness be measured?
A: Teachers will evaluate informally through observations, and the process itself will also be evaluated. Parents can also evaluate at home. Comment cards and TTFM results can also be used to gauge effectiveness.
Q: Is there a possibility for parents to opt out?
A: The Ministère has not given confirmation but it might be possible in special cases.
Q: Will parents be informed in advance of content that will be taught? In Manitoba schools must advise parents in advance.
A: No. It is too difficult to plan everything in advance or predict when teaching opportunities will arise.
Q: Given that the curriculum is pushing values, not just facts, is it respecting religious diversity? Not everyone believes in those same values.
A: The values taught are found across most religions. These values are facts as set by Canadian and Québec social values. The curriculum is research-based and expert-promoted.
Q: Can evaluation at the end of the year incorporate or include parent feedback?
A: Depends on what the school decides/allows.
Q: Does this content promote sexual activity as long as there is consent involved?
A: No. Many different forms of consent are taught, not just sexual. The choice of whether or not to be sexually active is also covered under other themes (i.e. self-respect, good choices, etc.)
Comment: There are 12000 signatures in opposition of this curriculum, it is more difficult to distance one’s children from the content when it is spread across courses, and Québec has the longest most in-depth program that runs counter to personal beliefs without an opt-out.
Q: If a child misses content due to illness, will they be taught what they missed?
A: Depends on the school; should be like missing any other class.
Q: What about for special needs children?
A: It will be addressed on a case-by-case basis, in collaboration with the resource team.
Q: Will parents be informed after the fact so that they can address it with their children?
A: Template flyers have been given to the school to distribute but the schools themselves must decide to distribute them.
Q: Can a governing board ask its school to make sure lessons are communicated?
A: Absolutely. For more contentious or sensitive content the governing board can make it one of its requests/conditions when passing the plan.
Q: Will there be extra staff around on days when sensitive or provocative materials are addressed?
A: Schools should be prepared for students to act out.
Steps for concerned parents:
Contact: Voice your concerns to the appropriate authority which is MEES . Please remember that this is a government-mandated curriculum; the LBPSB has no control over what must be taught.
Research: Visit the MEES website to see what will be taught and in which grades. More information will be made available over the course of the summer, at which time you will be able to determine exactly which lessons you would like to address.
Inform yourself: At the beginning of the school year, find out who your governing board parent representatives are and let them know that you would like them to make communication one of the prerequisites of passing the curriculum plan, especially when dealing with sensitive or provocative topics, wherever possible (please remember that it is just not feasible to be informed in advance for every single topic, and communication after the fact is acceptable in most cases).
Be present: Present yourself at the governing board meeting where the curriculum plan will be offered for approval; you will be given a chance to speak at the ‘Questions from the public’ portion.
Follow-up: If communication was agreed upon when the curriculum plan was passed, follow up with your governing board to ensure it is being done.