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6 FEATURES

The Miseducation of
Everyone

This summer, the Ontario Progressive Conservatives repealed
the updated sex education curriculum. University students
reflect on how the 1998 model left them in the dark
Words: Olivia Bednar
Illustrations: Skyler Ash

W hen Goldbloom was in high
school, they were walking
down the hallway to class when a
you don’t. It made me a target.’”
They didn’t know what to do to
stop the feeling of sickness and the
respected.” In 2015, a revised ver-
sion was introduced by the Liberals,
which covered many topics the old
teachers must teach the 2018 inter-
im version of the ‘98 model.
With the beginning of the new
The curriculum states: “By the end
of Grade 1, students will be able to
demonstrate the ability to recog-
boy reached out and groped their actions that induced it. And on top one did not, like defining consent, school year, hundreds of thousands nize caring behaviours (e.g., listen-
breasts. They were taken aback and of that, they couldn’t even fully LGBTQ+ relationships, gender of elementary students will be faced ing with respect, giving positive
felt a familiar feeling of sickness. It grasp why it was wrong at all. If identities, masturbation and social with the regressed sex-ed model. reinforcement, being helpful) and
was the same feeling they felt every Goldbloom had just been told “This media’s role in modern sex, includ- The lack of information on topics exploitative behaviours (e.g., inap-
time they were touched without is not okay,” they would have under- ing things like sexting and more. like consent and gender identities propriate touching, verbal or physi-
their consent, or got an unwanted stood what sexual assault and rape in the 20-year-old curriculum had cal abuse, bullying), and describe the
slap on their ass, or when a man were at a young age. “I would have a negative impact on the lives of feelings associated with each.”
made a comment about their es- been saved a lot of mental health is- many students that they only recog- By the end of Grade 8, students
pecially “feminine” body. It was sues, trauma...and suicide attempts,” I didn’t have the nized much later in adolescence and would be taught the importance of
an uncomfortable, alienating feel- the fourth-year Ryerson film studies words to understand adulthood. If they had been edu- a shared understanding about top-
ing—one that caused them to feel student said. cated with a better curriculum, they ics like the reasons for not engag-
like their body was separate from This summer, Ontario Premier that that was not could have avoided identity crises ing in sexual activity and the need
themselves. Doug Ford, along with the prov- okay. I will forever be and traumatic events. The Eyeopener to communicate clearly with their
Goldbloom, who requested to ince’s PC Party, announced that el- spoke to 10 university students in partners about decisions related to
use only their first name for this ementary schools will be required scarred because of Ontario who were put through the sexual activity.
piece, hit puberty quite early. to teach an updated, interim version that 1998 sex education curriculum in Goldbloom, however, didn’t have
Their breasts had developed at age of the old sex-ed curriculum, which order to explore how it impacted those understandings. They didn’t
10, and ever since, they’ve had to was implemented in 1998 and in ef- their understanding of pivotal sex- realize until much later that all the
endure unsolicited touches and fect until 2014. A statement sent to ed related topics. times they were inappropriately
comments. Some would even try to The Eyeopener from the office of the One of the key things the 2015 touched growing up were in fact
compliment them for their devel- Minister of Education Lisa Thomp- Students have been taught that curriculum includes that the pre- instances of sexual assault. “I didn’t
oped breasts. “Whenever someone son read, “Our commitment remains sex education curriculum for three ceding one does not is the concept have the education or even the
said ‘Oh, I wish I had your breasts,’ to ensure that Ontario’s children are years, between 2015 and 2018. of consent, which was introduced words to understand that that was
or something like that, I’m like, ‘No protected while their parents are Starting this fall, elementary school to children starting at six years old. not okay,” Goldbloom said. “And I