Ontario education minister 'taken aback' by sex ed consent backlash



Ontario's education minister said she was surprised by critics concerned over the addition of consent to the province's sexual education program.
 
“I've been quite taken aback by things that people are trying to label as sex ed,” Liz Sandals said Wednesday. 
 
On primary-school kids learning about parts of the body and how to deal with uncomfortable situations like unwanted touching, Sandals said “I had just considered that basic anatomy.
 
“Some people seem to talk about sex ed. So I guess the current curriculum starts sex ed in Grade 1 if you think basic anatomy is sex ed.”
 
Premier Kathleen Wynne announced changes to sex ed earlier this week centred around consent, after she met with two Toronto students that launched a petition for the topic to be added to the program. 
 
Specifically, the students asked that the lessons not be limited to Canada's “yes means yes” stance, but also include education about body language and facial cues to develop an overall knowledge of what consent looks like.
 
But Sandals said the education is actually about more about fostering empathy, which she argued is the foundation for issues like consent that present themselves when the children are older.
 
“If you're going to talk later on then, as the kids get older, about issues like safe Internet use, responsible relationships, respectful relationships,” said Sandals, “all those things are built on empathy for the other person that you're dealing with.”
 
What do you think of the addition of consent to sex ed? When do you think kids should be introduced to the concept? Let us know in the comments!
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