Opting out of sex ed is the wrong choice

Students in Ontario will be taught a revised health and physical education curriculum this year – a controversial change because some educators accused Premier Doug Ford of playing to his conservative base instead of listening to experts on what and when children should learn about sexual health. Today in The Conversation Canada, Jen Gilbert of York University looks at one concession the Ford government has offered – an “opt out” option for parents who want to remove their children from sex ed classes. “The government has cynically positioned sex education as a potential violation of conservative parents’ rights,” she writes.

Elsewhere, we look at how some insecticides can be counterproductive for agriculture and ask why more academics aren’t concerned about the environmental impact of their heavy travel schedules to attend academic conferences.

And finally…later this month, there’s a big party being held at the old Kingston Penitentiary. A local charity has booked the pen to hold a fund-raising rock concert. Sounds kind of cool, right? But Linda Mussell of Queen’s University raises some serious concerns about having a party in a place that has a history associated with death and suffering.


Scott White


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Sex education includes both formal and informal education, so schools should not be afraid of reaching out to parents. (Shutterstock)

Parents can benefit as much as their kids from Ontario’s new sex ed

Jen Gilbert, York University, Canada

Progressive responses that problematize Ontario's new opt-out policy for sex ed might reinforce the misleading idea that parents are an obstacle to their children’s sex education.

Some insecticides make pests stronger or put plants at greater risk of attack. (Shutterstock)

3 ways insecticides can be counterproductive in agriculture

Julien Le Roy, Western University

Pesticides have become almost essential for agriculture, but their misuse can have negative effects on crops too.

Researchers are keen to travel abroad but air transport makes a significant contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions. (Shutterstock)

Universities need to rein in academic air travel and greenhouse gases

Julie Talbot, Université de Montréal; Julien Arsenault, Université de Montréal

The adverse environmental impacts of academic travel are known. It is now up to institutions to determine how to adapt to these impacts.

Is it ethical to use former prisons, with long histories of death, suffering and wrongful incarcerations, as entertainment venues? Rockin' the Big House

A prison is no place for a party

Linda Mussell, Queen's University, Ontario

What does it mean to hold a party in a place with a long history of death and suffering?

La Conversation Canada

Une lettre adressée aux chefs de tous les partis politiques canadiens par 1200 scientifiques spécialistes des soins de santé réclame l’engagement de leurs partis envers un programme fédéral d’assurance-médicaments. Shutterstock

Il est temps de créer un programme national d’assurance-médicaments

Joel Lexchin, University of Toronto

Des centaines de milliers de Canadiens se privent de nourriture, de chauffage et d'autres dépenses en santé afin de pouvoir se payer les médicaments dont ils ont besoin.

Environment + Energy

  • Ships’ risky fuel transfers are threatening African Penguins

    Peter Ryan, University of Cape Town; Katrin Ludynia, University of Cape Town; Lorien Pichegru, Nelson Mandela University

    Oil spills from a project that's designed to harness the economic potential of South Africa's oceans are threatening the world's largest remaining African Penguin colony.


Science + Technology