Minister Thompson: Students need to learn about sexual health and healthy relationships

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Dear Minister Thompson,

We, the undersigned, are concerned about the decision to revert back to the HPE curriculum from 1998. Society has moved forward and has become much more inclusive since 1998 and the beauty of the updated HPE curriculum is that it was more relevant and reflective of the real, lived experiences of our students.

The new curriculum speaks to transgender students and validates their experiences, and really helps provide others with understanding of their experience,

The new curriculum speaks to female students who deal daily with body shaming. These are lessons that are vital and crucial to students, and still need to be in the curriculum.

We firmly believe that the decision to go back in time needs to be halted as it is to the detriment of our students mental and physical health as well as their future sexual health. We believe it is also about their understanding of people who are different than themselves.

In 1998, there was no social media. Social media, We need not tell you, has changed everything. The HPE curriculum needs to address that.

If the HPE curriculum is scrapped, the issues around body images for all children will continue and worsen. Cyber-bullying and abuse will continue to get worse and worse, and that is not something we can allow. Rehtaeh Parsons and Amanda Todd suffered enough. We don't need any more young people to suffer in that way.

We need our LGBTQ+ youth to feel honoured and cherished, so that suicide or attempted suicide among them subsides. And there is much much more that can be included in here.

Education is something that needs to be progressive. The new HPE Curriculum was that progression. What is being discussed now is regressive, and is, quite simply, not right.

The Ministry of Education should not reverting back to the old curriculum.  If changes are seen as necessary, then a line by line review of the HPE documents could be done in order to evaluate and understand it, and maybe making a few slight changes.

A simple reversion back to the old document HPE curriculum would put our kids at physical, emotional, and mental risk, and, therefore, it cannot and should not take place.