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Sex, Education and Silence

By July 17, 2014 10 Comments

Slide1In the spring of 2014, the Edmonton Public School Board decided to no longer use the services of The Edmonton Pregnancy Care Centre (PCC) as guest presenters. Not much has changed since then.

The PCC had been teaching its, “Wait! Let’s Talk Sex” in the Edmonton Public School system for nine years. They were invited in because of their expertise in presenting, with conviction, the abstinence option mandated by the Alberta government.

Mandated, not optional.

Clearly our elected representatives believe abstinence is a healthy choice to be understood when it comes to teen sexual relationships.

Credible Presenters

During the 2013 school year, The PCC taught over 15,000 students.

There are multiple commendations on record for The PCC’s presentation from both students and parents.

The Edmonton Public School Board responded to one complaint about a presentation by sending in two auditors, unannounced, as observers of a session.

That’s reasonable.

The auditors reported, “that the (Pregnancy Care) Centre thoroughly covered Career And Life Management (CALM) curriculum in

a scientifically sound presentation
which was inclusive,
respectful of individual differences
and without religious context.
Students were provided a safe and caring environment.”
(from the EPSB minutes of the June 15, 2014)

The PCC and its presenters have a Christian faith background, however, the curriculum they present is not religious.

Misleading Media

The EPSB’s decision was motivated by hearing “a lot of concerns expressed from the public over the last several days about guest speakers invited to present on the topic of sexual health education.”

The public’s concerns were most likely influenced by misleading media references to:

“Christian sex ed.”
“A Christian-based, abstinence education program.”
“Curriculum is built on specific church doctrine.”I Can't Speak

Some media outlets misrepresented The PCC’s role. Representatives teach ONE session during the year on the subject “abstinence and decisions to postpone sexual activity as healthy choices.” This is not the PCC’s wording – this is the wording directed by the Alberta Provincial government for Grade 7’s.

The Only One Not Welcome at the Table

The PCC is not the only “guest speaker” used by the EPSB. The “Compass Centre for Sexual Awareness” (formerly Planned Parenthood) also presents info on sex ed in Edmonton public schools. The PCC is the ONLY one not to be welcomed back.

The PCC is apparently excluded on the basis of religion. This is the antithesis of the Board’s stated objectives of “diversity and inclusiveness.”

Is there a place for people of faith to have a voice in the public system – not that they would voice their faith but simply be a voice that has faith?

Are the voices of non-secularists being quieted in our Public schools or are they already completely silenced?

APPLICATION: Respond to the Superintendent and the Trustees in a timely, respectful and determined manner.

Compose your own worded email or make a phone call expressing your response to the change of policy and asking for a reconsideration of the decision based on some of the facts listed above or other relevant observations that you can make. Contact all three of these parties:

The Superintendent, Darrel Robertson at darrel.robertson@epsb.ca 780-429-8010
The Board of Trustees Chair, Michael Janz at Michael.Janz@epsb.ca 780-429-8082
If you live in Edmonton you can locate your trustee at https://www.epsb.ca/ourdistrict/board/


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Bob Jones

Author Bob Jones

Pastor at North Pointe Community Church for 27 years. Happily married to Jocelyn for 38 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vinnie; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three gorgeous daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love being a pastor and inspiring faith in Jesus through communicating, blogging, counseling and coaching. I enjoy running, reading, writing and ball hockey. Fan of the Esks and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers

More posts by Bob Jones

Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • Sylvia Dennis says:

    For those of you struggling what to write, here is one suggestion for wording. If you agree feel free to copy and paste.

    I am writing to ask for a reconsideration of the decision to not invite
    the Edmonton Pregancy Care Center back to EPS`s as a guest speaker. They
    have been in the school system for nine years and have a expertise in
    making presentations about sexual education. Even thought auditors
    reported in EPSB minutes on June 15, 2014, that the presentation has no
    religous context, members of the public have incorrectly concluded that
    the program is religous. This is not right and should be made right,
    there should be fair treatment of those who are doing their job and
    doing it well. Please invite the Pregancy Care Center back.
    Thank you for your time.

  • Pat Smid says:

    I am so disheartened by this decision. I just wrote to my school trustee. No matter whether we’re vocal on our views or not, we are being shoved into the proverbial closet. It’s high time we came out, stop walking on eggshells and speak our faith into these issues.

  • bob jones says:

    I am sure that Norah Kennedy, director of the Edmonton PCC would also appreciate some support through this, either by prayer or affirming emails. People of faith having a voice in the public marketplace is a privilege that, while we have it, should be used with grace and wisdom. It was Peter who said “do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” 1 Peter 3:15 Thanks, Pat.

  • bob jones says:

    Thanks Sylvia for responding. That makes you an “activist.”

  • Tara Sinanan says:

    On July 10th, I clipped this commentary from the Edmonton Journal. It weighs heavily on my heart. On July 12th, the superintendent of Edmonton schools says….
    We are asking our schools to use different presenters. Every religion will teach the same values because it’s about our daughters becoming pregnant and our sons who will bear the stigma of blame and shame before they have the chance to enjoy their childhood. I wonder if the different presenter would or could be agnostic ? This complainer should visit the pregnancy care centre and reflect on it’s purpose instead of her daughters academic penalty……just saying.

  • Sharon Christiani says:

    I wonder how many teachers in the public school are Christian? Would they someday be banned from teaching because of their beliefs even if they teach without religious context? Would the same happen to teachers/presenters of other faiths? Thank you Pastor Bob for speaking about this on Sunday and thank you Sylvia for the suggested letter. My youngest son is going into grade 9 at an EPS. I will be making the request for PCC to present in addition to respectfully contacting the trustees.

  • Thank you for making us aware of this on sunday. My children are under the age of 3 and so this doesn’t affect them yet, but I am appalled by this decision. I have emailed my letter to the proper contacts, and have submitted my letter to various media outlets. thank you.

  • bob jones says:

    Thanks for supporting the work of the PCC, Tara.

  • bob jones says:

    Thanks Sharon for taking action!

  • bob jones says:

    Thanks Christa for taking action. All it takes for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.

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