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Education From the comments: ‘This would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.’ Readers react to Ford government’s contradictory arguments on sex-ed

Today, readers are responding to an Ontario government lawyer arguing that elementary-school teachers can use their “professional judgment” when developing sex-ed lesson plans and have a duty to teach in a way that’s inclusive of all students. The argument contradicts Premier Doug Ford’s statements earlier this year in which he threatened to discipline educators who defied his government’s orders to use a 20-year-old sex-education curriculum. Readers are also discussing Marcus Gee’s feature, Obituary for noted UBC professor Cyril Belshaw left out one key fact – he was acquitted at famous trial of killing his wife.

Around 50 gathered outside the Ontario Legislature on July 18 2018. to protest the Ontario government's plan to roll back the current sex ed curriculum and go back to the 1998 version. Premier Doug Ford says there will be extensive consultations for the next curriculum.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The Ford government has been all over the place on this interim curriculum. Now we're supposed to believe a single lawyer and believe that Ministry policy will follow suit? Even if that were the case, the central problem would remain: different students would get different levels of protection against bullying, STIs and abuse depending on their individual teacher's motivation. This is unacceptable. Our kids' safety should not depend on winning the teacher lottery —that's why a uniform, detailed curriculum was enacted in 2015. - Spxcy Garage

In response to Spxcy Garage:

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Why do liberals like you insist on trying to brainwash my children with your same-sex curriculum? By all means teach your children whatever you want. Do not teach mine. My religious values are offended by same-sex, gender fluid ideology. You must stay on your side of the fence and not infringe on my rights. - Chad Chen

In response to Chad Chen:

You might be "offended by same-sex, gender fluid ideology," but both sexual orientation and sexual identity are protected human rights in the Province of Ontario. Gay and transgender kids therefore have a right to get sex-ed which is useful to them, in spite of what you might think. - left-leaning

Missing in the comments is a little sympathy for the poor teacher who has drawn the dubious honour of teaching sex-ed. Many, I think, would rather do anything else than be subjected to the close scrutiny that will come from parents and students with this controversial course. The dilemma is do they play it safe and hope to avoid the parent confrontations which will be inevitable, or do they make a judgement call, which could cause problems. My bet is that teachers aren’t lining up to teach this course. - JeffSpooner

One would almost think they hadn’t thought this through at all. We’re teaching the old way. Sort of. Mostly. Except if someone doesn’t want to. Then they don’t have to. Although we will kick them out if they don’t. But they can use their judgement. Kind of.

Who’s on first? - JPP221

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I really don’t understand the intolerance around sexual orientation of the ultra-right religious zealots. What’s the fear? If two people, regardless of sex decide to enter into a relationship, how does that ever affect your life? I went to a gay wedding many years ago with my wife and we found the whole experience enlightening.

I think the intolerant people who oppose gay values should do just a little research on their own. Or take this tack; if your son or daughter were gay how would react? You raised that child, does that child become less human because they’re gay? Of course not. - Golf guy3

“...Have a duty to teach in a way that’s inclusive of all students.” How ironic, considering that this was exactly the intent of the Wynne curriculum and Ford’s decision to roll it back excludes the very kids who are most at risk. This would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. - Rationalthought

What else readers are talking about

Murder suspect Cyril Belshaw and his dead wife, Betty Belshaw, published December 4, 1980 in The Globe and Mail, page A13.

Obituary for noted UBC professor Cyril Belshaw left out one key fact – he was acquitted at famous trial of killing his wife

I was an English literature student of Mrs. Betty Belshaw in the mid 1970′s. She was a spirited and inspiring teacher. One of the most memorable classroom moments was her introducing Pieter Bruegel’s c. 1558 painting, “The Fall of Icarus” which had inspired W.H. Auden’s poem, “Musée des Beaux Arts”. Mrs Belshaw encouraged a close reading of both painting and poem. Sharp eyed observers found tiny white shapes in the painted undergrowth, which resembled a skeleton and skull. We had a lively classroom discussion about these bones being a premonition of Icarus’s death. It turned out to be a premonition of Mrs Belshaw’s tragic end in Switzerland. - Smerchie

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When I was studying at UBC in the 1980s, this story was still talked about. Naturally, the rumour mill was that Professor Belshaw had been involved in his wife’s murder. That he also had become a bit of an outcast in his dept and in any event he only had a few years left before retirement. Still, it’s surprising that no other suspects were considered or evidence kept for later DNA analysis, and why did they fail to establish how she died? Bit odd for the usually diligent Swiss!! It sounds like a death of a tourist always goes to the back of the line in police priorities. - HooDooYooThink

Obituaries don't normally cover the bad things people are accused doing. That is not their purpose. - WShillington

In response to WShillington:

Death notices don’t deal with bad deeds. But obituaries do, or at least should. Time passes, people forget. Wonderful report by Marcus Gee. - David63632

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