NB Premier Bans Group From Schools After ‘Inappropriate’ Sex-Ed Presentation

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New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs says he is upset over “inappropriate” content shared with students at New Brunswick high schools, and the group behind the presentation will no longer be allowed in schools.

“A number of concerned parents have shared with me photos and screenshots of clearly inappropriate material that was presented recently in at least four New Brunswick high schools,” he said in a May 24 post on X, formerly Twitter.

“To say I am furious would be a gross understatement,” he said.

“This presentation was not part of the New Brunswick curriculum and the content was not flagged for parents in advance,” he added. “My office has been told by Department of Education officials that this was supposed to be a presentation on HPV. “

The premier said the material went “well beyond the scope” of an HPV presentation.

“This group will not be allowed to present again at New Brunswick schools, effective immediately,” he said in the post.

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“Our government will have further discussions about whether additional rules about third-party presentations need to be updated.”

Mr. Higgs said that he will stand with parents, and that they need to be informed about what is happening at schools.

“I want parents to know that we are with you. We will continue to make decisions based on the principle that parents need to be aware of what is happening at schools, so they can make informed parenting decisions,” he wrote.

He also invited parents to participate in a survey about third-party presentations.

Policy 713

Mr. Higgs faced criticism after making changes to the province’s Policy 713, which now requires schools to inform parents if a student wants to change their name or pronouns.

Following the changes, several party-riding presidents called for a leadership review. Six of his cabinet ministers sat out of legislative business on June 8, 2023, in protest. The minister of post-secondary education Trevor Holder and minister of social development Dorothy Shephard resigned.

Premier Higgs considers the policy changes as one of his government’s biggest accomplishments. He said he had been surprised to learn that in the original policy, teachers were advised not to tell parents if their children wanted to change names or pronouns.

“I’ve always felt parents should play the main role in raising children. No one is denying gender diversity is real, but we need to figure out how to manage it,” he said during a year-end interview with The Canadian Press.

Policy 713 says that if educators are not able to get consent from the child to contact parents, the student is to be sent to a school social worker or psychologist to help develop a plan to talk to their parents.

Mr. Higgs has said he expects the issue of parental rights to have a large role in his Progressive Conservative Party’s campaign in the upcoming election on Oct. 21.

Saskatchewan Bans Planned Parenthood

In June 2023, Saskatchewan’s then-education minister, Dustin Duncan, suspended Planned Parenthood from presenting in schools after “inappropriate” sexual content was taken into a high school in Lumsden, north of Regina.

The material included graphic, sexual words beginning with each letter of the alphabet. Planned Parenthood said the material was not part of the presentation, but was available at a side table.

“It’s just completely inappropriate to be in the classroom, and so that’s the basis for today’s directive,” Mr. Duncan said at the time.

The executive director at Regina’s Planned Parenthood said they were disappointed with the decision.

Julian Wotherspoon said the organization discusses contraceptives, sexually transmitted infections, and sexual consent while teachers are in the classrooms.

“We believe that people of all ages have a right to that information about their sexual health,” she said.

Matthew Horwood and The Canadian Press contributed to this report. 

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