John Oliver takes on the failings of sexual education across the USA in his latest episode of Last Week Tonight. It’s worth watching the full 20 minute clip.
While his examples are entirely from the USA, many of these issues are also happening in Canadian schools.
The Abbotsford School District here in BC has a policy that places “a primary focus on abstinence” when teaching human sexuality and “students must be informed about the associated health risks and failure rates” with contraceptives. The Edmonton School District was bringing in anti-choice, abstinence speakers to teach sex ed in their schools, while in Ontario, plans to introduce a new comprehensive sex education curriculum were met withprotests from conservative and religious groups. A 2014 candidate for Mayor of Burnaby went as far as to call for the school board to be abolished and kissing in public to be banned. This 2011 article in The National Post highlights some of the other flashpoints across the country in the sex ed debate.
And those are just some of the issues facing public schools. British Columbia (and some other provinces) also provides partial public funding to many religious independent schools.
While perhaps not as large scale or as coordinated as the anti-sex messages happening in the US, the same forces are at play here. We need to be vigilant in support of giving students evidence-based information and empowering messages.
We’ll be working more on this as part of our Secular Schools campaign. If you want to help out or want to let us know about any concerns you have about schools in your area, email me at [email protected]. And please donate to our campaign fund to support our advocacy efforts.