NewsTue Oct 10, 2006 - 12:15 pm EST
B.C. Parents Denied Access to Debates on Controversial Pro-Gay High School Course
By Gudrun Schultz
VANCOUVER, B.C., October 10, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Secrecy and selective access have marked ongoing debates on the content of a controversial high school course promoting homosexuality, a parents’ organization has charged, after they were refused access to a two-day conference on the course attended by multiple special interest groups.
The Concerned Parents of B.C. were not admitted to a closed, invitation-only meeting hosted by the B.C. Ministry of Education and attended by 25 organizations deemed to have interest in the material, the Vancouver Courier reported last week.
Invitations to the two-day conference included the Gay and Lesbian Educators of B.C., the Vancouver Humane Society, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, and homosexual activists Peter and Murray Corren, the couple who struck a special deal with the B.C. Human Rights Commission in 2005, allowing them to directly specify pro-homosexual content in the Social Justice high school course.
Concerned Parents of B.C. requested access to the meeting days before it took place but were denied admission, the Vancouver Courier reported. The parents’ group was established at the end of last school year in response to the controversy over the inclusion of pro-homosexual material in the grade 12 course. Approximately 300 members now advocate for parents rights to have a say in the content being taught to their children.
Brian Roodnick, chairperson of the Concerned Parents of B.C., told the Courier the organization just wants equal access to the material in question.
“Our opposition is not against homosexuals or any other group,” Roodnick said. “In a democratic society, no one group should be given privileged status over another, but that’s what happened here.”
“A class about social justice and sexual orientation should include the moral opinions of religious groups. All we’re asking is that [the ministry] look at the Charter and make sure that these six groups are represented.”
Reinforcing the parents’ charges of deliberate exclusion were comments made by the president of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, Jason Gratl, who told the Courier, “[t]he B.C. educational act has a certain point of view, and groups that are hostile to these educational principles should not be contributing to any dialogue on education reform.”
The B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils was invited to the meetings but was unable to attend.
Concerned Parents has launched a letter-writing campaign opposing the curriculum changes, the B.C. Catholic News reported yesterday.
The organization is asking the B.C. government to ensure parents have equal access to curriculum review and changes, that the UN Declaration of the Rights of Child enshrining parents’ authority over the education of their children would be reflected in the B.C. Schools Act, and that volunteer parent curriculum review committees would be created at the school-board level to give parents a voice on material taught in the schools.
The organization told the B.C. Catholic Newspaper that while they support the teaching of compassion for others, they also believe that “parents have a primary role in the education of their children” and that all citizens hold equal rights in developing curricula for the public schools.
“We love our children and believe that we have the highest duty to care for them. This also means that we should defend and empower parents to take responsibility for the nurture, raising, and yes…education of their children.”
B.C. Parents and Teachers for Life sent a letter to the ministry and all MLAs on Sept. 23, saying parents “have the right to educate children in conformity with their moral and religious convictions…public schools must be transparent and accountable to parents about what is taught to students.”
The letter stated that parents should have the right to view teaching materials when sexual or controversial topics are introduced in the classroom.
Fifteen thousand people signed an August petition by the Canadian Alliance for Social Justice and Family Values Association, stating that the Correns were given an “unreasonable, overwhelming say” in changes to the curriculum.
Concerned Parents of B.C. is encouraging those alarmed by B.C. developments to write to the Ministry of Education, MLAs, and the media. Information and guidelines are available at: www.concernedparentsbc.org
The Vancouver Province reported today that Roodnick said yesterday he wants to run for a local federal Conservative nomination after being approached by friends. “I’ve always been interested in politics but hadn’t planned to run,” Roodnick told the Province. He is a teacher at an independent school in Vancouver but wants to run in Richmond where he lives. The riding is now held by Liberal Raymond Chan.
See coverage by the B.C. Catholic Newspaper:
See previous LifeSiteNews coverage:
900 Protest in Vancouver Over Homosexual Activist Control of Gay Curriculum in Schools
Gov’t Agrees to Mandatory Homosexual Curriculum with No Opt-Out for Students or Parents
Documents Reveal Government Signed Over Control of Education to Homosexual Activists