Thousands of Canadian parents in Toronto, Ontario, kept their elementary-age students home on May 4 to protest a proposed new sex education curriculum, which they claim is too graphic for youngsters.
According to numbers from the Toronto District School Board, Monday, May 4 had 34,762 elementary school absences, compared to only 14,191 on Monday, April 27, noted CBC News.
“In Grade 1, they should be learning about the ABCs, not sex,” parent Lubna Awah told the Toronto Star. "Boys are boys and girls are girls, why should they learn about a third (gender) in Grade 1?"
Toronto Star reports that classroom instruction about gender identity doesn't happen until eighth grade.
Some parents are reportedly getting their misinformation from a flier created by a Chinese Christian group, which has not been specifically identified.
Irate parents also protested and carried signs in Toronto earlier this week, noted GlobalNews.ca. One of the signs read, "Math, Not Masturbation. Science, Not Sex."
There is also a Facebook page set up to oppose the sex ed classes.
The sex ed curriculum has reportedly gained the support of physicians, educators and experts in the mental health field. One of the firsts in the new sex ed classes will be informing students about the importance of sexual consent.
Not all parents oppose the sex ed plans.
Nazerah Shaikh, a school council chair, told the Toronto Star:
"There’s more that I agree with than disagree with in the new curriculum. When I read the parts that deal with sexting and relationships and consent, I knew it was important. Today’s kids are two steps ahead when it comes to accessing information online. For a $30 data plan, they can go to porn websites on their smartphones."