TORONTO, Ontario, May 3, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Over 150 Catholics packed a consultation meeting last week on the Toronto Catholic school board’s draft equity policy.  The vast majority at the April 27th meeting were parents and other concerned ratepayers opposing the policy that trustees are considering prior to a vote in May.

“I see that this is another push of the gay lobby to come into our schools,” said Anne Rooney, a retired teacher from the Toronto Catholic District School Board who attended the meeting.  “It just goes farther forward and farther forward.  These incremental steps by the gay lobby will not be good for our children. … It will confuse them more and more.”

The concerns and recommendations were varied and quite articulate according to attendees.  Many parents also vocally opposed the new anti-bullying clubs for homosexuals authorized and encouraged by Ontario’s Bishops last month.

Meeting attendees were organized into small groups and given time to discuss and critique the draft policy, copies of which were distributed to each attendee. Then a recording secretary was designated for each table to present at the microphone a summary of the comments made by the small group.  Multiple parents confirmed that the sentiment from the vast majority of tables was a profound dislike of the draft policy. 

Just a few of the policy amendments requested by stakeholders included:

  • Gay clubs must not be allowed in Catholic schools. Bullying should be dealt with in a generic sense without labelling any student as “gay” or “lesbian”.  Other forms of support for any type of bullying are already provided for all students and there is no need for GSAs or similar homosexualized clubs.
  • The school board’s equity policy must require the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s sections on homosexuality to be taught during any discussion about sexual orientation, including within the context of support clubs for same-sex attracted students.  One parent read from the open mic the entirety of Section 2357 of the Catechism which states:
    “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”  They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
  • Where the draft policy currently refers to prohibiting “discrimination,” it must be changed throughout the document to reference “unjust discrimination.”
  • Stronger language must be added to protect teachers who give the Church’s authentic teaching on Christian sexual morality. It was expressed that the current policy leaves them open to persecution, even disciplinary action for presenting Church teaching.

Many also expressed their belief that there is no quantifiable evidence to prove that widespread bullying, nor any bullying for that matter, is actually taking place in Catholic schools against “gay” students. One parent said she spoke to a student at her table who identified himself as “gay”, but acknowledged that he himself had not experienced any significant harassment during high school.

While the majority of attendees were opposed to the board’s draft equity policy, there was a contingent of teachers, board administration and high school students who some ratepayers told LifeSiteNews were “stacked at every table in order to counter the parental presence.”  Rooney said that a superintendent sitting at her table commented to her, “We were told to come [by Administration] because the previous meeting had been quite vocal.”

“Wasn’t that what it was supposed to be?” asked Rooney.  “We go to voice our concerns and we should have been vocal.”

Another attendee reported that St. Patrick’s High School brought roughly 30 students to the meeting, and a few also came from Bishop Marrocco High School, which already had a Gay-Straight Alliance before the controversy broke out in the mainstream press earlier this year.  A few of these students spoke in favour of gay-straight alliances.

Some parents felt emboldened to see a much larger crowd of concerned Catholics at this meeting in comparison with the initial April 18th consultation, which drew about one hundred.

Now that community consultations are finished, it is presumed that Administration will compile all the feedback received and present it to the Board Trustees to take into consideration before taking a vote to accept, reject or amend the draft Equity policy.

Catholic ratepayers are being encouraged to express their wishes to:

DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION
Anne Perron, 416.222.8282 ext. 2296, ann.perron@tcdsb.org

PREMIER OF ONTARIO
Dalton McGuinty, Tel: 416.325.1941, Email: dmcguinty.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

See report with videos from the April 18th meeting.