2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Student petition calls for consent education in public schools

By Chris Adams, April 9 2015 —

Fourth-year University of Calgary student and Consent Awareness and Sexual Education (CASE) club volunteer Sarah Hogendorp hopes to change the way Alberta educates young students about sex by introducing consent education to the curriculum.

Hogendorp started volunteering with CASE earlier this year before suggesting they start a petition in January. She started working on it with CASE vice-president academic Jennah Martens-Forrester. They’ve received hundreds of signatures and have spread the petition to campuses and cities across the province.

The petition states, “We, the undersigned residents of Alberta, petition the Legislative Assembly to urge the government to mandate the inclusion of the topic of legal, responsible, healthy, and affirmative sexual consent as part of the sexual education curriculum developed by the ministry of education.”

Hogendorp said many people don’t understand how consent works. She said these people may take advantage of their peers simply because they don’t know any better, adding that buying someone dinner or getting them drunk isn’t the same as getting their consent.

As a fourth-year university student, she said she didn’t know the laws surrounding consent until joining CASE this year. She blames the lack of consent education, saying the conversation needs to start in secondary school.

Hogendorp said there are plenty of things she’d like to see added to Alberta Education’s sexual education curriculum, but consent is a good place to start.

“There’s only so many things we can get a bunch of conservative people, especially in Alberta, to agree with,” Hogendorp said.

Alberta’s ministry of education will undergo a review of its curriculum later this month. They’ve reached out to stakeholders in the province to let the government know what they think Alberta’s students should learn.

Ministry of education communications director Tamara Magnan said Alberta Education wants students to learn about “the positive characteristics of healthy lifestyles” and improve their chances of being disease, violence, injury and fear free as a result of proper sexual education.

“We are working with education partners on this review. Although we are not currently in a public consultation phase, people are always welcome to share their recommendations with Alberta Education,” Magnan wrote over email.

Hogendorp said her correspondence with the ministry of education has been difficult. She said the office seemed “offended and confused” that a student would try and “tell them what should be in the curriculum.

“I had to justify to them that I have siblings in high school and that I went through the process here in Alberta,” Hogendorp said. “They still stayed pretty snobby, but they stopped telling me not to be concerned.”

CASE president Emily Leedham said the club will circulate the petition over the next few weeks leading up to the provincial election on May 5. She said they want to reach candidates through social media.

“Laurie Blakeman was MLA in Edmonton-Centre and is currently a candidate for the Liberal, Alberta and Green parties. She has been advocating extensively for consent education in public schools and we’d like to see other candidates do the same,” Leedham said.

The petition currently has over 500 signatures, and Hogendorp hopes it will break 1,000 by May 1. If they hit that mark, she said they’ll assess their results and decide what to do next.



Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet