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Sex education group ‘incensed’ by N.B. premier’s targeting of school presentation

HALIFAX — The head of a non-profit group working to promote reproductive health says she is “incensed” that New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs has misrepresented her high school sexual education presentation.

Teresa Norris, president of the Montreal-based organization that made the presentation, says her group has been teaching in New Brunswick schools for years, and its material is vetted by the province.

Norris’s group HPV Global Action operates the Thirsty for the Talk sexual education group, and she says she has delivered the presentation to about 12 New Brunswick high schools this year.

She calls the material age appropriate and in line with the provincial curriculum and says she was shocked when Higgs posted a slide from the presentation on social media on Friday and announced the group would be banned from future presentations.

The slide Higgs shared featured questions such as, “Do girls masturbate?” and “Does it hurt when you do it for the first time?” and “Is it normal to watch porn like people watch TV series,” among others.

Higgs said he had heard from concerned parents who shared photos and screenshots of material Norris delivered that is “clearly inappropriate.”

He said the Department of Education told him the presentation was supposed to be about human papillomavirus (HPV) and the group shared materials beyond that scope.

Norris says this is not true, and the group’s presentation that covers safe sex, healthy relationships, abstinence and consent was vetted by the Department of Education.

“We are not promoting any sexual behaviour … our ultimate goal is to destigmatize conversations about sexual health so young people can get accurate information,” Norris says.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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