Eighteen year old Emily Dawson, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission, saying that the high school sex-ed class she was required to take in order to graduate was based on religious values and not on science. Initially the Edmonton School Board said that the course met provincial standards, but once the complaint became public, they backed down in the face of public pressure and said they would instruct teachers to not use the curriculum offered by the Edmonton Pregnancy Care Center.
Dawson says that the course included information that was factually incorrect, such as a statement that condoms were ineffective. She also says that students were told that children from single parent families were more prone to depression, suicide, and juvenile delinquency than those with two parents. Dawson’s mother, who is a single parent, tried to remove Emily from the second day of the two day class, but was told that Emily had to take the class in order to pass the course. She decided to join her daughter, and she told CBC News that she was shocked at some of the things she heard.
I don’t want them in the secular school. They may have a spot in the Catholic school … because they are faith-based. My issue isn’t with them … because it’s such a wide variety of families going to these (public) schools, let’s leave the science to the school and the values to the parents.
The Edmonton Pregnancy Care Center has American connections.
According to Think Progress, the Edmonton Pregnancy Care Center is connected to an American group of “crisis pregnancy” centers called “Care-Net.” Both the Edmonton center and Care-Net advocate abstinence until marriage, and both oppose abortion.
Alex McKay, who coordinates research at the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada, told CBC that he was surprised that a Canadian school would use a sex-ed curriculum that was connected to an American group. He observed that Canada is usually far ahead of the U.S. when it comes to presenting information about sexual health that is free of ideology or religion. However, he added that he wasn’t surprised that the school district would bring in an outside group to present this type of material, as he said that he believes the vast majority of Canadian teachers are poorly prepared to present it themselves.
Canada ahead of the U.S. in something related to sex and religion? Who could have imagined that?!
Here’s video of Emily and Kathy Dawson’s interview with CBC News: