Northlea Parents Assembly Advisory
Dear Northlea Parents
We are all quite busy, but recognizing how important your children are, you will find the content and the petition, below, to be significant in their emotional development. We have some great educators at the school and within the context of open communication can work better together to support our children. Last year you may recall similar issues in the news – see the CBC story here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2010/04/23/ontario-education.html)
Below you will find...
1) Some history about the controversial assemblies your children may have attended or may be subjected to in the future.
2) An opportunity to voice your position on the requirement to inform parents and/or seek their consent when controversial content is presented to your children
3) An opportunity to give constructive feedback on your concerns regarding the content recently (or about to be) presented.
Last year, when picking up several grade 4 kids from school, I overheard their conversation about Suicide and Gay Sex. I was shocked, and asked what they were talking about. They shared that these were topics in an assembly they’d attended about bullying that day. I contacted the Principal and the school board, and after repeated attempts I was sent the content of the presentation, but frankly at that point the horse had already left the barn. There was no advance warning to parents, nor was any information sent home afterwards to facilitate home discussion of what was presented.
This week, on Monday November 28th, I received an email from someone whose daughter had attended an assembly at the school, led by the guidance counsellor. Her daughter told her that there was some discussion of “blow jobs” and “hand jobs”. I asked some kids who were over at our house, and one of my son’s friends confirmed that it “was gross. They talked about drugs and blow jobs”.
Respectfully, as a parent, I would have preferred to have been advised of this content in advance by the school, and I wasn’t. Furthermore, many of your children may also have attended this session, but were too embarrassed to discuss the content with you. This means that you, as a parent, were not given the opportunity to be aware of and involved in this dialogue and the message presented, which is critical to their emotional and physical health.
Many parents would appreciate the opportunity to be involved and informed about this sort of content in advance of the presentation, either to speak to their children about it before hand, or even to request that their children be exempted from attending.
Clearly this expectation is not unrealistic or unreasonable – rather it is supported by the guidelines from the Ministry of Education – as you can see in the quote below:
"The overall and specific expectations in this strand are age-appropriate and should be addressed with sensitivity and respect for individual differences. Because of the sensitive nature of these topics, parents or guardians must be informed about the content of the curriculum and time of delivery. Teachers and learners must develop a comfort level with these topics so that information can be discussed openly, honestly, and in an atmosphere of mutual respect. The "healthy sexuality" expectations should be addressed only after teachers have developed rapport with their students. Opportunities should be provided for segregated as well as coeducational instruction."
If you believe that it is important for you and your family to be involved in – or at very least advised about – the presentation of similar content in the future, please add your name to the petition below. We will communicate further developments to all who submit their email addresses. The goal is to partner with our school community for the emotional health of our children through better communication. Providing constructive feedback is the goal. In the spirit of raising healthy kids,
Concerned Northlea Parents