The overwhelming majority of those who weighed on Ontario's sex education on the first day of public consultations opposed the revocation by Premier Doug Ford of a modernized curriculum introduced by the previous Liberal government.
Respondents who identified themselves as students, parents, and social workers flooded the ForTheParents.ca site with messages hours after they opened in late August after weeks of controversy over the fate of the curriculum.
Approximately 1,600 submissions obtained by The Canadian Press through a request for freedom of information show the vast majority requiring that the modernized curriculum of 2015 be reinstated. About two dozen messages spoke in favor of the Progressive Conservative government's decision to revoke the document and temporarily replace it with one based on the 1998 curriculum.
"With the changes you've made to the curriculum, you're putting children at risk. Not all parents feel comfortable teaching their children the proper anatomical names and safety of the body, but that's crucial," wrote one person. said to be father and son. protection worker of Children's Aid Society.
Another person noted that his son attends a primary school that has a trans student and fears that children will not receive lessons about acceptance.
"They will not have understanding and acceptance of all people regardless of sexual orientation. Please do not let that happen," they wrote.
"Teach the new curriculum," said another submission. "My tax dollars funded the research to get to it and it's not terribly out of date like the 1990s. Any teacher who teaches from the old curriculum is a responsibility to the safety of our community."
The government launched the submissions site in August after Ford pledged to repeal the modernized curriculum established under its predecessors and conduct what it called the largest consultations in the province's history to create a new lesson plan.
Critics noted that the 1998 curriculum that temporarily replaced the discarded paper did not address issues such as gender identity, consent, and cybersecurity.
A few days before the start of the school year, the government said it had drafted a lesson plan to deal with those criticisms. Experts say, however, that the lesson plan only mentions modern concepts such as the internet and mobile phones, and that largely reverts to the vague language and general topics used in the 1998 curriculum.
The 2015 curriculum addressed issues such as bullying and online sexting, but opponents, especially social conservatives, have objected to parties addressing same-sex relationships, gender identity and masturbation.
& # 39; Our children deserve better & # 39;
Many respondents to the online consultation, whose identities were withheld, questioned the site's submissions and expenditures after the previous Liberal government spent months consulting parents and experts to create their lesson plan.
Some have pointed out Ford, accusing him of promising changes to appease the social conservatives within the party's base.
"Please do not go back in time," wrote one of them. "Our children deserve more – they need to learn consent, diversity, how to navigate social media." This is intimidating the majority to satisfy a religious minority.It is not right to harm our children for political gain. "
Dozens of respondents used the forum to ridicule the Ford administration and the consultation process itself, which the Ontario Federation of Ontario Teachers had dubbed a "line of informants" that encouraged parents to report teachers who refused to teach the 1998 curriculum .
Incredible waste of time & # 39;
Those who supported the repeal of the 2015 curriculum expressed concerns that children were being taught things they considered inappropriate, such as gender diversity and same-sex relationships.
"Sexual preferences should not be taught in school," said one interviewee. "Every family has its own values: LGBTQ is fashionable now, and many teenagers buy into it because it gives isolated teenagers an instant group of friends. , please do not indoctrinate the children. "
When asked about the results of the consultations, which ended on Saturday, Education Minister Lisa Thompson said the government will be reviewing all data in January, and then writing and testing a new curriculum in the spring. The new document will be presented in time for the new school year for the fall, she said.
"Let's listen and analyze every submission we received," Thompson said. "When we look at tens of thousands of submissions, digital searches and the results of our prefectures over the phone, you'll see that we're going to take the right step to our elementary curriculum next year."
Acting liberal leader John Fraser said he felt justified by the first batch of results, noting that extensive consultations were conducted when his party brought the modernized curriculum.
"It seems like a really incredible waste of time and probably money for the government to do that," he said.
If initial submissions indicate the remaining responses, progressive conservatives can no longer justify their decision to temporarily revert to an older version of the lesson plan, he said.
Ford's opposition to the updated sex-ed curriculum first came to light during the Conservative Progressive leadership race earlier this year. His position earned him the support of social conservatives within the party's base, helping him win over longtime lawmaker and current Health Minister Christine Elliott.