07/11/2014 02:49 pm ET

Canadian Family Claims Christian Sex Education Violated Their Human Rights

CBC News

A Canadian teenager and her mother have successfully filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission of Alberta over the sex education being taught at a local public school.

Emily Dawson, 18, and her mother, Kathy, claim the Christian sex education course Emily attended at her former public high school violated her human rights as a non-Christian, reports Canadian outlet The Edmonton Journal.

Emily, who has since graduated from McNally High School, had to take the sex education class in order to complete her course requirements. An outside group called Pregnancy Care Centre taught the course. The Dawson family told the Journal that the group used the class to spread an anti-abortion, Christian ideology.

Pregnancy Care Centre is affiliated with an American umbrella group called Care-Net, reports ThinkProgress. On its website, Care-Net says it “prevent[s] forced, coerced and otherwise unwanted abortions by promoting positive life choices. … With those who have already experienced the loss of abortion, we share hope and the redemptive power of forgiveness through Jesus Christ.”

Emily told Canadian outlet CBC News that the course instructor was “[b]asically shaming the girls and making them gatekeepers and meanwhile making it sound like the boys had no impulse control.”

“I have a friend that is a lesbian and she was asking what would happen if she didn't want to stay abstinent and then the educator said, ‘We're not here to talk about that,'" Emily also told CBC.

Though Kathy tried to pull her daughter out of the course, Emily decided to stay after they were allegedly told she risked academic penalty by leaving. At the same time, the local school board looked into the matter and found that the course was sound.

“Our administration have looked into this in the district and they're confident that students in Edmonton public schools are receiving the sex education set by Alberta Education,” Michael Janz, a member of the board, told CBC News.

Kathy, who ended up sitting in on the course, told The Edmonton Journal: “It’s values-based sex ed and all the values are evangelical values. … It’s not even mainstream Christianity. I’m not against abstinence. But I think the message is diminished when it’s surrounded by misinformation and fear.”



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