The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is heartened by the action of hundreds of students exercising their democratic rights to defend a modern human development and health education curriculum.
“The unity and collective voice of high school students gives elementary educators great hope for the future of this province,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond.
Under the banner of #WeTheStudentsDoNotConsent, the student-led walk-out was initiated by Rayne Fisher-Quann for September 21. Fisher-Quann also launched an online petition through Change.org asking Ontarians to ask the Premier to keep the 2015 health and physical education curriculum in place.
ETFO views the student walk-out as a bold, empowering and creative action; it’s what Ontario needs right now.
The union is encouraging all Ontarians—students, educators, parents and voters—to speak up and take a stand to defend human rights in Ontario.
In today’s world, students are navigating issues including homophobia, consent, cyberbullying, healthy relationships, gender identity, sexting and body image. Every kid deserves a curriculum that addresses and explores these issues, is supported by solid research and teaching experience and that’s proven to keep them safe.
At the beginning of September, ETFO filed a legal injunction to pause the rollback of the 2015 health curriculum because the union believes the government’s directive creates unsafe and unhealthy learning and working environments. ETFO also believes directing educators to teach the 1998 curriculum is in conflict with the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
ETFO educators will continue to act to defend a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for all students and their families.