Canada’s most populous province will revert to teaching a 1998 sex education curriculum this fall in a conservative coup that fulfills a campaign promise made by Premier Doug Ford, a right-wing businessman who has drawn comparisons to Donald Trump.
The old sex-ed curriculum is notably silent on topics like same-sex relations, masturbation and gender identity, the Globe and Mail reports. These subjects were addressed in a 2015 revision of the curriculum, but their inclusion drew backlash from faith groups and more conservative parents.
Starting in September, Ontario schools will scrap the updated lessons in favor of the old textbooks, Education Minister Lisa Thompson announced Wednesday. The reversion will continue until the Progressive Conservative government, in conjunction with local parents, determines how to rewrite a curriculum that educators had reportedly deemed outdated.
“The sex-ed component is going to be reverted back to the manner in which it was prior to the changes that were introduced by the Liberal government,” Thompson said.
Critics of the 2015 curriculum called it age inappropriate. According to the Globe and Mail, even the lesson plan’s discussion of consent proved controversial, with some parents claiming that talking about it would encourage students to engage in sexual activity.
The updates around gender identity and same-sex marriage also proved contentious.
“Children should not be taught the unscientific and controversial gender theory,” Tanya Granic Allen, a Progressive Conservative candidate until she was dumped by Ford over homophobic comments, told the Globe and Mail.
The plan to revert to the old sex-ed curriculum has sparked concern among educators and health professionals, and has drawn a backlash online.