Calgary high school students say comprehensive sexual education is missing from Alberta’s school curriculum, inhibiting young people from learning essential skills to recognize and prevent sexual violence.
Sexual education courses are optional in Alberta schools, and even so, students told Postmedia consent is not taught and sexuality is often a glossed-over topic. At the end of 2020, the Calgary Board of Education also ended a decades-long teaching partnership with a sexual health centre.
“One of the main reasons why students are feeling like consent isn’t being properly taught is the fact that there’s just so many sexual assaults happening in high schools around Calgary,” said Hayley Bryant, a Grade 12 student at Western Canada High School in southwest Calgary.
“I firmly believe to decrease sexual assault we need to give students the tools to understand what sexual assault is, what consent is, and the legal repercussions of sexual assault. Students can’t do better when they don’t have the tools to understand what’s going on.”