News / Calgary

Calgary Board of Education trustees to explore sexual consent instruction in schools

Calgary's top public-school trustee says she'll be consulting with her colleagues to the north on whether her board should also be advocating for sexual-consent instruction in the Alberta curriculum.

On Tuesday, Edmonton Public School trustees voted in favour of sending a letter to Alberta Education advocating such a move. Representative Orville Chubb raised the issue, stating consent is a "missing piece" in the current curriculum, which is currently being redesigned.

On Wednesday, the Calgary Board of Education trustee chair said she'll talk with her Edmonton peers about what she described as an important topic.

"We're certainly finding out why they brought it up and we're looking at it more in-depth," she said, later adding, "We don't have a plan or position on it yet."

Bowen-Eyre attended Catholic school growing up and said sexual education was generally focused around the human anatomy, adding her own kids get a "better level" of information on the matter in school these days.

Even still, Emily Leedham with the University of Calgary's Consent Awareness and Sexual Education Club (CASE) said many students arrive at post-secondary with little grasp around what's considered sexual assault.

"Anybody's capable of it if they're not taught to respect someone else's boundaries," she said, before vouching support for the move by Edmonton trustees.

"We do the best we can to try to educate university students, but really, it's almost too late. It needs to happen earlier . . . they should have complex sexual education that includes consent and where they understand that they have autonomy over their own bodies and they should respect the autonomy of others over their own body."

Calgary Catholic School District spokesperson Tania Younker said her organization works with "key stakeholders" to update sexual-education curriculum when required.

"Then, we make sure that it's built with the Catholic perspective," she said.

"This particular piece (consent) would probably fit in, but we haven't gone so far as to lobby for it."

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