Eight-year-olds are students, not activists

Younger kids in sex-ed protest prodded by adults

Do you remember being eight years old? When your concerns were getting homework done, finding your friends on the playground and wondering what your parents were making for dinner?

Do you recall thinking deeply about political matters?

Probably not.

On Sept. 21, elementary and high school students held “walk-out” protests at schools across the province. Tens of thousands of students left class that day in opposition to the Progressive Conservative government’s decision to repeal the 2015 sex-ed curriculum.

On its face, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with that. After all, any reason to get out of class when you’re young is a good one. So what could be the issue with kids be being more civic-minded and exercising their democratic rights?

The problem, even if you agree with their cause, is that the younger students were being primed as future activists. They were being told and encouraged what to think and not how to think. Instead of learning during class time, they were out chanting slogans and waving placards.

It’s understandable that older students in Grade 11 and 12 protested, but eight and nine-year-olds chanting political statements and carrying signs?

Children that young do not have the mental capacity to understand what they’re being told to protest. How often were you thinking about provincial politics and your sex-ed curriculum before you were even 10?

These kids weren’t protesting out of their own desire to do so, based on an understanding of the issues involved. They were being prodded by educators who object to the Ford government’s decision to pull the updated curriculum.

Whether the cause is just or not isn’t the point. Using them as political tools is always unacceptable.

About this article

Posted: Oct 3 2018 10:39 am
Filed under: Opinion