Tuesday September 21, 2010

School Trustees Slam “Homosexualized” Ontario “Equity Strategy”

By Patrick B. Craine

TORONTO, Ontario, September 20, 2010 ( – The McGuinty government’s equity and inclusive education strategy “represents a violation of parental rights and religious freedom,” according to a trustee candidate for the York Region District School Board who is demanding the strategy be repealed. At the same time, a Catholic trustee in the Toronto Catholic District School Board says he believes the strategy is designed with the aim of “sweeping away our Christian and Catholic values of the family.”

Allan Tam, a public school board candidate from Markham running in the upcoming province-wide municipal elections on October 25th, came out swinging against the government’s “equity” agenda in a press release earlier this week. He says the “over-reaching” Ministry of Education is “abusing its power by imposing a homosexualized curriculum in the name of equity and inclusivity.”

“It will lead to children being taught that homosexual unions are the moral equivalent of heterosexual marriage,” he warned, saying this “is something that the majority of parents do not want.”

The strategy, which was launched by McGuinty’s government in April 2009, requires every school board in the province to develop an equity policy by this month that outlines their commitment to inclusion based on the grounds listed in the Ontario Human Rights Code, including “sexual orientation.” The boards are then expected to revise all policies and practices to align with this commitment to “equity.”

Critics point out that the Ministry’s documents recommend, for example, that schools celebrate the Gay Pride Parades, use texts by homosexual authors, and promote homosexual clubs such as gay-straight alliances.

Tam says that the controversial new sex-ed curriculum pulled by McGuinty’s government in April, which had eight-year-olds learning about “sexual orientation” and twelve-year-olds discussing oral and anal intercourse, was simply one component of the broader equity strategy. This strategy, he says, is “aimed at promoting a new sexual revolution via the classroom.”

Tam believes that the government’s “unjust power grab” springs from a 1997 change to the school funding formula, known as Bill 160, that made it so that all school funds are now dispensed by the province.

“This method of funding allocation has had the unfortunate consequence of making it easy for the provincial government to take into their own hands, the authority to make educational policies,” he says.

John Del Grande, a trustee for the Toronto Catholic board running for election, says he believes the strategy seeks to “erode Catholic teaching” in the separate schools.

“I think we as Catholics and school trustees need to be more cautious with these documents because we got burned the last time,” he said, referring to the recently-pulled sex-ed curriculum. “Although we got on board later, we should have been the ones raising the flags upfront.”

Del Grande said he is concerned that the Ministry is using the strategy to promote openness to homosexuality in the schools, noting that it began under former Education Minister Kathleen Wynne, an open lesbian. “My understanding is that it is driving the homosexual agenda into our schools and through our children,” he said.

“This document is really about putting the government’s spin on [equity] and limiting us later,” he added. “It’s almost anti-Christian and anti-Catholic. I’m sure that’s where this came from.”

Many Catholics have rebuffed criticism against the strategy by emphasizing the fact that it includes lines indicating it should be implemented with respect to the denominational rights of the Catholic schools.

“I think we’ve been fooled by this before,” said Del Grande, however. “If we’re not diligent, just because we say we reserve the right to keep consistent with our teaching and religion, it’s just not enough. We have to be diligent to make sure that we totally ingrain [our faith] in everything we do, in all of our policies, not just a preamble statement.”

“You’re going to have a lot of parents objecting to some of the materials that could be brought in, because the Ministry drives all the curriculum and materials,” he warned. “I think they’ll start to slowly insert [objectionable material] in there under the guise of this policy. They’ll do it really subtly to start and it will get worse as time goes on.”

See related coverage:

Parents Must Unite to Scrap Ontario Equity Strategy, Says Pro-Family Group

Ontario Equity Strategy Threatens to Embed Religious Discrimination: CLC

Catholics’ Constitutional Rights No Safeguard Under Ontario Equity Strategy: CLC

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