“Home schooling” and “private schools”.
Ontario has tried hard to accommodate parents with conservative religious views who want their children excused from sex education classes. Typically, that means some students head to the library when the health nurse comes to talk about condoms.
But now a small group of parents who are angry that they lost the battle to keep support clubs for gay students out of the schools are taking things to a new level by demanding the right to pull their kids out of a wide range of classroom discussions that do not conform to their particular beliefs.
Their demands are impractical, indeed unacceptable in a public school system. Everyone from the education minister down to individual principals must push back against this pernicious trend.
Something called “traditional values” form letters are trickling into boards across the Greater Toronto area from conservative Christian and Muslim parents. The generally ask that schools notify them before teachers deal with certain subjects, including evolution, the environment, wizardry or any discussion that portrays gay relationships as “natural, healthy or acceptable.” This demand for prior notice is unreasonable. The schools need to be able to deal with these matters as they come up.
What’s a teacher to do when a student starts reading his English essay about Harry Potter flying his broom to the recycling depot? Whistle down the reader while the class is cleared of objectors?
OK? Got that? Don’t expect the publicly funded school system to accommodate every single quirky “value” that you dream up.
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