CHATHAM-KENT, Ontario, January 31, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Catholic board in Chatham, Ontario has implemented a controversial “safe schools” policy that could see students given counseling that affirms homosexuality behind their parents’ backs. At the same time, gay activists are targeting the St. Clair Catholic District School Board in an effort to launch a gay-straight alliance at one of the board’s schools. Such alliances have been opposed by the Ontario bishops for requiring students to prematurely self-identify as homosexual.
Pride Chatham-Kent, which organizes the area’s annual Pride parade, is working with a student to launch the club at Ursuline College Chatham, an English high school in the board, reported Chatham Daily News last week. Just recently, the activist group helped launch a gay-straight alliance in the Lambton Kent District School Board, the area’s public board.
St. Clair’s Director of Education, Paul Wubben, said the board is discussing the possibility of launching a support group for the marginalized and for budding activists, which would be open to homosexuals.
When asked if the Church’s teachings affect their approach to this issue, Wubben replied, “The teachings of the church are that you accept people as they are, you treat everybody with dignity and equality.”
The Catholic boards in Ontario are facing increased pressure from homosexual activists after activists discovered earlier this month that the Halton Catholic District School Board had passed a pro-family equity policy which, among other provisions designed to protect Church teaching, banned gay-straight alliances. The policy was overturned by trustees on January 18.
Wubben made his comments last week, in the wake of this controversy in Halton, assuring the Chatham Daily News that his board is fully committed to being “inclusive.” “What we stand for is embracing all of our students,” he said.
Mark Reinhart, a director with Pride Chatham-Kent, told Chatham Daily News that the board’s approach to homosexual issues “shows another institution that’s willing to be a little progressive in their thinking and make sure their kids can come to school and learn without feeling threatened in any way.”
In September the St. Clair Catholic board passed a controversial “safe schools” policy that directs principals not to notify a bullied child’s parents of an incident if the principal deems it would put the child “at risk of harm.”
This policy conforms to Ontario’s Bill 157, which took effect in February 2010. Pro-family leaders warned that, in the case of a student struggling with homosexuality, principals could very easily decide that the child would be harmed by a parent’s belief that homosexuality is disordered.
Instead of notifying the parents, the St. Clair policy says victims who are targeted over “immutable characteristics” will be connected with “professional supports.” It states that these “immutable characteristics” include the grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code – which includes “sexual orientation.”
One of two “professional supports” specifically named by St. Clair is the Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgendered Youth Line.
Asked if his board was open to a gay-straight alliance, and whether in his comments he had intended to disregard the Catholic Church’s teaching that homosexuality is a disorder, Wubben’s spokesman Todd Lozon told LifeSiteNews that he had no further comment. “He believes his remarks, as recently quoted in the media, are accurate and correctly reflect the position of the Board with respect to supports for all marginalized students, including those who identify themselves as LGTBQ,” said Lozon.
LifeSiteNews.com did not hear back from Pride Chatham-Kent by press time.
To respectfully express concerns:
Most Rev. Ronald Peter Fabbro, C.S.B.
Bishop of London
1070 Waterloo Street
London, ON N6A 3Y2
Tel: (519) 433-0658 #224
Fax: (519) 266-4353
E-mail: [email protected]
Find contact information for St. Clair trustees here.