The government of Saskatchewan's parental inclusion and consent policy has stopped the use of third parties to provide sexual health education in schools.
Laura Melle, assistant executive director for Envision Counselling, explained that before the policy change, they were contracted to help teachers deliver sexual health information in schools across Southeast Saskatchewan.
“We were able to help the educators, as specialists in this area delivering sensitive information on these topics, and they would ask us to come in and facilitate that. We always would make sure that obviously it's age appropriate depending on what age we're speaking to.”
Melle said one of the biggest concerns is that if kids are not receiving adequate sexual health education they may turn to other sources for information.
“Where else are they going to find out? They might turn to the internet to educate themselves, and that could ultimately be more destructive than positive.”
Envision helped facilitate specialized information sessions that aided in educating students on subjects such as autonomy over their own bodies, healthy relationships and consent.
“We do have a high rate for domestic violence and sexual assault," said Melle. "And we want to make sure that those numbers don’t increase, and that these kids are getting the right information.”
If parents are interested in educating their children on sexual health topics but are not sure how to approach the subject Envision suggests calling in to speak to a counsellor or, using the ask-a-counsellor button on their website. They also have a variety of resources they are able to lend out.
"We do believe that parents have the right to know what’s going on in their school and in their kids' lives," concluded Melle." And so we do think that consent is an important piece so that they know what their children are being taught."