BACKSTAGE

Backstage WITH EDUCATION

Should our schools teach children the facts of life?

CHRISTINA MCCALL June 21 1958
BACKSTAGE

Backstage WITH EDUCATION

Should our schools teach children the facts of life?

CHRISTINA MCCALL June 21 1958

Backstage WITH EDUCATION

Should our schools teach children the facts of life?

CHRISTINA MCCALL

‘7 am amazed that in North America sex education in schools is not accepted by most PEOPLE.’-REV. HELMUTH W. WIPPRECHT, COBALT. ONT.

“The sex education of children . . . is not a course for the schools. It is a matter for the HOME."-HON. W. J. DUNLOP, ONTARIO MINISTER OF EDUCATION.

Thus two Ontario educators recently staked out the broad gulf between educators in many parts of Canada on a question of increasing concern to teachers and to parents: Should schools teach what used to be called “the facts of life”?

Wipprecht, a young (29) United Church minister who came to Canada from Germany seven years ago, thinks they should. He spoke this opinion so forcefully that it has now been broadcast in most parts of the country. It started when he was instructing a grade 7 class in ( obalt on the seventh commandment, “ I hou shalt not commit adultery, as part of a course in religion. Aware of Education Minister Dunlop's view on sex education, Wipprecht sent pupils home with some questions for their parents: “What does the term sexual relations mean?” and “How does a baby start growing?”

Parents raised the roof. Wipprecht’s classes were suspended. Wipprecht charged the tumult was proof of parents’ “barnyard morals.” He defended his case on a nationwide TV program. He also raised the question: Where do Canadian schools stand on sex education?

According to a Maclean’s survey, they're 6 to 4 against it—by provinces. Here's the rundown: Maritimes: No sex education in any province. "We believe it’s a duty of the home,” says New Brunswick's deputy education minister D. A. Middlemiss. Quebec: Thirty percent of senior students in Protestant schools study biology; school health services provide sex education.

Ontario: Sex education is not official part of the

curriculum “but elements are taught in health or biology classes": Col. S. Watson, curriculum director. Manitoba: No course in sex.

Saskatchewan: Course in education for family life (grades 11 and 12) includes sex education “where teacher is qualified and school board approves. Some teachers unfitted or unwilling to handle the subject”: W. G. Bates, guidance supervisor.

Alberta: Health and personal development courses

include material on germ cells and venereal disease. “Some attempt has been made to assist parents in sex education.”

British Columbia: Sex education included in health and personal-development course now under revision.