Gay tolerance teaching mandatory in Toronto schools
By KRIS SIMS, Parliamentary Bureau
June 21, 2011
http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Politics/20 ... 1-qmi.html
Christian parents wanting to opt-out of the Toronto Public School Board's curriculum-wide inclusion of gay, lesbian, transgender and queer issues are being told to like it or lump it.
“We cannot accommodate discrimination,” said Ken Jeffers, coordinator of gender-based violence prevention with the board. “If a parent says 'We don't like gays and lesbians and we don't want our child to learn anything about them,' that would be, under our policies, and under Ontario Human Rights legislation, discriminatory.”
The resource guide for teachers of students in kindergarten through grade 12, titled Challenging Homophobia & Heterosexism, is meant to help educators integrate teaching moments concerning GLTQ issues into everyday discussions in the classrooms.
“As a blunt example, if we had parents who were members of the Church of the Creator, which is a white supremacist church, wishing to be exempted from anti-racism education, we wouldn't allow that either,” Jeffers said.
For some parents, however, the programming goes beyond tolerance and anti-bullying and amounts to promotion and celebration.
“They are presenting an entire secular humanist world view that contradicts the teachings of many families,” said Phil Lees, leader of the Family Coalition Party, and a former public school teacher.
Lees says parents shouldn't have to leave the public school system if they want to keep these issues from being taught to their five-year-olds.
“Other cities have alternative classes within the public system that teach in specialized ways, they focus on Ukrainians, Germans, Muslims, Christians or traditional learners,” says Lees. “Why can't we have the same thing for Christian families within the Toronto public school system, just like the Afro-Centric school?”