CRANBROOK, B.C. — The manager of a public health nurse says she is sorry for mistakenly giving a class of British Columbia students a sex-education guide that contained graphic images, including a picture of bondage between cartoon animals.
Roger Parsonage, executive director of clinical operations for the East Kootenay region served by the Interior Health Authority, says he’s not sure why the adult booklet was distributed to students in Grades 6 and 7 after a session on sexual health.
Parsonage says the nurse was teaching at Erickson Elementary School in Creston, B.C., with a student nurse when the children were given the explicit booklet containing information about sexually transmitted diseases and drug use during sex.
He says material used for future classes will be reviewed by Interior Health and the school district before it’s provided to students.
Parsonage says he is not sure why the booklet was brought to the school in the first place but any material that is used in future classes will be reviewed in advance by Interior Health and the school district.
He says third-party material is used to teach sexual health but it must be appropriate for school-aged children.
“All of us are sorry that this happened,” Parsonage says. “And we’ve apologized to the parents as well as to the school, the principal and the school district. This was a mistake that shouldn’t have occurred and we’ll take steps to ensure it won’t happen again.”
Christine Perkins, superintendent of the Kootenay Lake School District, says the “unfortunate, unbelievable mistake” last week had parents complaining at a public board meeting.
She says parents were shocked when children brought home the booklet, produced by a Toronto group called CATIE — the Canadian Aids Treatment Information Exchange.
“I was shocked when I looked at it,” she says, adding the booklet clearly states it’s for mature audiences. “I think of myself as fairly open minded and liberal and I was appalled,” she says.
Perkins says a school psychologist phoned all the parents and offered counselling at the school this week or group counselling next week but no one has taken up the offer so far.
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“We have increased and improved our vetting of anything that comes through the schools so we’re hyper vigilant now after this happened. It was just way too graphic and way too adult for Grade 6 and 7 students and that’s just the bottom line.”