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Lawyers for Ontario’s elementary teachers’ union say the government’s repeal of a modernized sex-ed curriculum has left educators reluctant to address issues like gender identity, which are no longer a mandatory part of the lesson plan.

The Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario is an intervener in a human rights challenge launched by an 11-year-old transgender girl fighting the repeal of the curriculum.

The union’s legal team says the chilling effect created by the repeal mean teachers feel there’s a risk in addressing issues like gender identity — a situation they say means the government is discriminating against LGBTQ students.

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Lawyers for the girl — a sixth grader identified only as AB — say the government has put their client at a disadvantage by repealing the curriculum, and they’ve asked that it be reinstated while a new lesson plan is developed.

Schools are currently using an interim curriculum based on a version from 1998, and government lawyers have argued that teachers can expand on what’s required by that document.

The province is expected to present its closing arguments later today.

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