Ontario JK-8 teachers mandated to proactively promote LGBT issues: union lawyer
HAMILTON, July 8, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — A lawyer representing Ontario’s 76,000 elementary public school teachers in a pivotal parental rights case says those teachers must provide “proactive promotion” of “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirited, intersex, queer and questioning” (LGBTTIQ) issues across the curriculum.
Moreover, “we’re not just talking about a little module that can be cut out,” Kate Hughes told an Ontario Superior Court. “Equity and inclusivity” principles are “embedded throughout” the curriculum, she says.
Those principles are outlined in the 2009 Equity and Inclusive Education (EIE) Strategy, and the 2010 Accepting Schools Act or Bill 13, she stated.
“You can see with these pieces of legislation, that it’s more than just tolerance” of LGBTTIQ self-identified students and families, Hughes said, but “inclusive, welcoming, proactive promotion.”
Hughes represented the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, which intervened in the case of Steve Tourloukis, heard June 23 by Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Reid.
The Ontario Liberal government intervened in the case as well.
Case significant for parental rights
A Hamilton dentist and father of two, Tourloukis is asking the court to declare that he has the final say over what his children are taught in public school.
He is also asking the Court to find that the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) violated his Charter rights, including his right to freedom of religion, when it refused to give him advance notice of when and how teachers would present on certain sensitive subjects.
These topics included, among others, “discussions or portrayals of sexual conduct that he determines to be unnatural/unhealthy (anal sex, oral sex, sadism, masochism, fetishes, bondage, etc.),” and “discussions or portrayals of homosexual/bisexual conduct and relationships and/or transgenderism as natural, healthy.”
Tourloukis made his request in 2010, shortly after then-Education Minister Kathleen Wynne launched the EIE Strategy. He asked for advance notice so he could decide if his children, then in JK and Grade 2, should opt out of class.
After being refused, Tourloukis launched a legal action in 2012. He stated that he does not object to his children receiving factual information, but he does object to teachers presenting as facts “value judgements” that could expose his children to “false teaching” according to their Greek Orthodox faith.
Teachers’ union intervenes
The ETFO intervened in the case because “these are the people who would be doing the review of programs,” and vetting class plans and materials to assess if they would conflict with Tourloukis’ “worldview,” Hughes told the Court.
“I’m not going to call it ‘false teaching’,” she added. “I find that very offensive.”
The 2009 EIE Strategy document quoted a 2007 Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops’ statement that “the suicide rates among homosexual students are higher than their peers and called for positive action,” Hughes told the Court.
“We’re worried about suicide rates. We’re worried about people not feeling safe at school.”
But Albertos Polizogopoulos, lawyer for Tourloukis, argued that neither the school nor the board provided any evidence to back up its speculative claim that some students would be adversely affected if their fellow students opted out of certain lessons.
Moreover, he pointed out that other Ontario boards, and other schools within the HWDSB, had honoured similar requests for advance notice, and the HWDSB’s own equity consultant had advised the school to grant Tourloukis’ request.
Polizogopoulos argued that Bill 13 was irrelevant to the case, as it came into force in 2012, while Tourlourkis made his request in 2010.
Request “unworkable” because issues embedded
Hughes argued that references to LGBTTIQ issues are “going to be embedded all the way through” the curriculum, and that the board told Tourloukis that this was the case.
Lawyers for HWDSB and the Liberal government argued the same.
“Is it your understanding the applicant is asking for something that’s not reasonable?” asked Justice Reid.
“It’s not only unreasonable, but also unfeasible,” Hughes replied. As just one example, a teacher could refer to how many pies someone’s “two moms might bring,” she elaborated.
To have “someone go through everything” is “unworkable.”
Catholic lawyer Geoff Cauchi told LifeSiteNews that choosing to “embed” equity and inclusivity issues across the curriculum is “political.”
The claim by the union, the Liberal government, and the HWDSB that Tourloukis’s request for advance notice is unworkable “can be traced to their own decision to organize the material in the way they’ve done,” he said.
“Embedding” is a propaganda technique
“This is a technique of propagandizing,” observed Cauchi. “There’s no need for this to be spread across the curriculum. There’s only a political reason: They don’t want children to escape the reach of this propaganda.”
Indeed, “infusing” curriculum with LGBTQ issues is an idea that’s been around for some time.
In 1995, American pro-family activist Phyllis Schafly reported on a “Multicultural Nonsexist Education Plan” proposed for Des Moines Public Schools by its Sexual Orientation Advisory Committee.
Schafly described the 900-page document as “a detailed and explicit statement of the gay rights lobby’s strategy for targeting schoolchildren.”
The Plan noted as among its goals:
- To use the instructional materials selection cycle to infuse information regarding gay/lesbian/ bisexual issues into the curriculum.
- To include in the elementary, middle, and high school curriculum a discussion of the nature of families including same gender families and parenting.
- To emphasize gay/lesbian/bisexual issues in the mandatory cross-cultural awareness training.
- To include the evolution of the modern gay/lesbian/bisexual identity [and] cross-cultural representations of homosexuality" in psychology and sociology courses.
Warned Schafly: “Unless parents, teachers … everywhere are as alert as they are in Iowa, they will wake up one day and find gay/lesbian advocacy so infused in the curriculum that it can’t be disentangled from English, History, and other subjects.”
Parental rights hang in the balance
Pro-family advocates are watching the Tourloukis case closely, saying that parental rights hang in the balance.
Campaign Life Coalition’s Jack Fonseca told LifeSiteNews in an earlier interview that “if the judge rules in favour of the school board/Wynne government, moms and dads across Ontario will lose their fundamental right to guide the moral education of their own children.”
Lou Iacobelli, chair of the Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund (PRIEDF), which has funded Tourloukis’ case, says parents should be “outraged” that the Liberals have intervened in the Tourloukis case, and that they have made it clear there is no “opt out” for students where “equity and inclusivity” issues are involved. (Those interested in donating in this or in the work of PRIEDF go here.)
Justice Reid has reserved his judgement.
Ontario gov’t tells court: No opt-outs for LGBT lessons, it’s embedded in all subjects and grades
WATCH: Ontario dad fights in court for parental rights over children in education
Wynne gov’t intervenes against parental rights in Hamilton father’s Charter challenge
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