Friday, April 3, 2015

On Equity

This blog continues an interesting dialogue that has begun with my eleventh-grade English teacher. Lou Iacobelli is a retired teacher, also a blogger and advocate for Catholic education and parents' rights. The discussion began when I posted, on March 15th, a response to two entries on his blog Everyday for Life Canada regarding a TDSB equity document focused on LGBTQ issues. I took umbrage with some of his assertions, posted, and linked my response to the comments section of his blog. An email exchange began. And here were are.

Lou summarizes:
In this post, I would like to respond to a recent entry by a teacher and a former student from my teaching days at De La Salle College here in Toronto. He says it was forty years ago. Where have all those years gone? But I digress. The entry is at "A Teacher Blogs" and tilted "The Sin of Omission." The author refers two of my posts: "The bottom line in the 'new' sex education curriculum:' it's to promote homosexuality" and "Parents beware: neither the school boards nor the government intend to respect your rights."
Lou Iacobelli has had boots on the ground in the education system longer than I, particularly teaching kids. We're only a decade apart in age, but we have significant differences in core beliefs. He is a devout Catholic, and, I imagine, politically conservative; I was nominally raised in the United Church of Canada, spent my intermediate and secondary school years at Del, and consider myself an atheist. And I'm left of centre -- wherever that may be -- politically.

Cue the theme song to The Odd Couple.

Lou's rejoinder begins with an important reminder of the Constitutional right of publicly funded Catholic schools in Ontario and elsewhere. He goes on to cite the recent Loyola decision of the Supreme Court of Canada:
Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Loyola High School in Montreal has the right to teach religion from a Catholic perspective. The province cannot force the school to teach its mandated "neutral" ethics and religion course. Every Catholic school in Canada including the separate schools in Ontario have the same right.
I quite agree with this decision. It seems to me that a Catholic school, affiliated with a diocese, staffed by Catholic educators and other workers, is by its nature Catholic. I don't think such an institution can or should be expected to teach Catholicism or any other faith from anything but a Catholic perspective. This is not to suggest the educators within are incapable of engaging with students in debate about tenets of the faith; nor that they are so ideologically entrenched that they cannot provide and encourage useful insights into other belief systems. My own experience as a student in a Catholic school shows me they can -- I don't recall suffering any particular trauma during my high school study of the Protestant Reformation.

But we're not talking about teaching the tenets of the Catholic faith. We're talking about a instructional guide to equity, focused particularly on LGBTQ issues. We could as easily be talking about an equity guide addressing race or class issues. And I must emphasize there is no pecking order of identity under the Human Rights Code and the Education Act. Sexual orientation was codified Provincially in 1987; however, the human rights section of the Education Act was only updated to reflect this -- along with gender identity and gender expression -- in 2012, twenty-five years later. There is a unique learning curve going on with respect to queer issues.

Lou also reflected on Article 26 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights [which] states: "Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children." "If Catholic parents don't want "Equity education," he adds, "the government ought to respect their choice and their right to this belief."

We may be speaking at cross purposes here because our discussion is the TDSB equity guide. Catholic parents in Ontario wanting a Catholically based education for their children are entitled to publicly funded Catholic schools. I'm unaware of any additional rights held by Catholic parents about what takes place in a secular public school. In that regard, I can't imagine they would have any more sway than parents of any other faith, including non-believers. I do want to say something about accommodation of religious beliefs, but I'm going to do that in a separate post.

Back to the TDSB document. This is a guide for a secular board. I don't want to make false accusations or assumptions; however, the TDSB document Lou and I have been discussing has been characterized by its detractors as a kind of stealth Ministry of Education curriculum document. It's been a bit of a canard for sure.

In 2011, Charles McVety's Institute for Canadian Values took out ads in the Toronto Sun and National Post newspapers, declaring that children in Ontario's schools -- for no apparent reason -- were being deliberately confused about their gender. The pricy full-page ads were based on misinterpretations of the TDSB document.
NatPo ended up apologizing and donating its proceeds to a trans organization.

Former Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario leader Time Hudak tried much the same, misrepresenting the TDSB guide as a Ministry curriculum document, and compounding this with some tall tales -- such as the purported "kissing booths" in elementary schools.

Reality check: If I were aware of a kissing booth held in any school for children of any age or sex, I'd be on the phone to the Children's Aid Society. So would Lou, I imagine. But there were no booths -- the activity involved passing out Hershey's Kisses chocolate treats.

Mr Hudak was unrepentant in defending the ad, despite repeated questioning by CBC radio host Matt Galloway about the blatant inaccuracies. Part of the exchange can be found in Heather Kirby's documentary, Please! Don't Insult Us, at 12:15.

Lou continues,

Moving on to the idea that the resource guide tells teachers that they have no choice and must cover the sensitive and controversial issues. These are the LGTBQQ topics. Gordon you say that there's nothing new in this. And you quote from the Education Act that it's the parents' duty to send their children to school. I don't see how any of this gives the state the right to control both the contents of a course and who teaches it without any say from parents.

My reference to the expectations of parents and guardians under the Education Act was clumsy. My point in doing so was to underscore what schools can expect parents to do -- which is not very much. Controversial issues arise as a simple matter of being alive. We cannot expect or assume that parents will address controversial issues; however nothing precludes the parent from addressing a controversial issue in addition to what the teacher does. Controversial issues can cause tension within schools -- they have to be addressed. Nothing prevents that same parent from approaching the school and saying, "I don't think you handled this very well."

Here's a non-LGBTQ example from our days at De La Salle that may add some clarity -- probably during my senior year, 1978-79. Drivers of the Avenue Road bus had complained to their union and to supervisors about racist comments made by students from the school. (This came as no surprise to me -- there were very few children of colour in the school during my years there, and epithets like Paki and nigger were commonplace.) An assembly was held, during which we were forewarned that TTC was placing spotters on the buses to observe our behaviour, and if it continued, drivers would be instructed to bypass our stop. I recall being quite shocked that we were tipped off.

During the assembly, the student council president sniggered and swaggered and said, "So you need to tone it down a bit. Stop calling them Pakis or spooks, or whatever they are." The vice-principal said the behaviour needed to stop, but never mentioned the word "racism," never talked about how this language reflected an ideology that is unacceptable. I know that seems to fly in the face of "everyone is entitled to their opinion," but I also believe very passionately that everyone gets to live consequences of their words and deeds. Throwing around epithets demeaning entire groups of people is not a form of speech I would line up to defend.

I told my dad about it, and he said the school blew a chance to do some really serious teaching around difference. We had a long and fruitful discussion about everything he and I thought went wrong. In his view, the school did a crappy job addressing an obvious controversial issue that needed to be addressed.

Perhaps other parents were properly incensed with the conduct of some students. On the other hand, perhaps a few apples hadn't fallen too far from the tree, and staff at the school might have found themselves running afoul of parental rights by calling out the bigotry.

Lou makes a point I must acknowledge, "Now parents may choose to agree with the state proposes, but the state should respect the right parents have to say no to course contents they object to."

If we're still talking about this guide, there is no course to speak of. The document provides a menu of lessons and strategies to help teachers address controversial issues -- LGBTQ, in this case. It's not a curriculum document, so a principal can't assign it. Documents such as this are a valid and necessary tool for the classroom because we cannot assume all parents will have those fruitful discussions with their kids. And if they did, we cannot assume that all those conversations will come to the same conclusion, because they won't.

There's case law to support my position:
Exposure to some cognitive dissonance is arguably necessary if children are to be taught what tolerance itself involves. As my colleague points out, the demand for tolerance cannot be interpreted as the demand to approve of another person’s beliefs or practices. When we ask people to be tolerant of others, we do not ask them to abandon their personal convictions. We merely ask them to respect the rights, values and ways of being of those who may not share those convictions. The belief that others are entitled to equal respect depends, not on the belief that their values are right, but on the belief that they have a claim to equal respect regardless of whether they are right. Learning about tolerance is therefore learning that other people’s entitlement to respect from us does not depend on whether their views accord with our own. Children cannot learn this unless they are exposed to views that differ from those they are taught at home....It is suggested that, while the message of the books may be unobjectionable, the books will lead children to ask questions of their parents that may be inappropriate for the K-1 level and difficult for parents to answer. Yet on the record before us, it is hard to see how the materials will raise questions which would not in any event be raised by the acknowledged existence of same-sex parented families in the K-1 parent population, or in the broader world in which these children live. The only additional message of the materials appears to be the message of tolerance. Tolerance is always age-appropriate. You can read the full decision here:
Lou points out, "Teachers have always respected parental rights. This was the policy when I taught at De La Salle. Why is it now different with the LGTBQQ issues?"

It isn't different with LGBTQ issues. The Education Act, which overrides the Human Rights Code on human rights matters as they pertain to students, now conforms to the Code, as of 2012, when sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression were incorporated via The Accepting Schools Act. I address homophobia or transphobia in the same way I address racism or sexism; in fact, in the same way that I would address -- and have addressed -- discrimination based upon religion. As I said above, there's a learning curve. Some teachers and parents think that talking about homosexuals means talking about sex. I've been a Positive Space representative for three years and a GSA co-founder and advisor for two -- in neither of these roles have I discussed sex acts with students. That is material for Health, which I haven't taught for a few years.

What appears different is that people base their discomfort with LGBTQI issues on strongly held religious beliefs. It goes without saying this discomfort is not shared individually by all people of faith, including all Catholics. However, religious beliefs were also the basis for racial segregation of Ontario schools at one time. These views have become unacceptable in education and society generally.

The traditional enmity between Catholics and Protestants was certainly a factor in having separate schooling in many provinces. As I grew up, I became aware of the staunchly anti-Catholic attitudes of some of my extended family -- I recall being embarrassed by one of my uncles as he launched into a screed about Catholics. Lou would remember this better than I, but traditionally Toronto City Council and the Mayor's Office were very much under the control of the Orange Lodge, which was known for its disdain of Catholics. Again, these outdate views are thankfully receding.

A bit of an aside. During my first two years at Del, grade seven and eight, I was the only bona fide Protestant (United Church of Canada) in the room. There was an Anglican, as well as a couple of Eastern Orthodox students. And there were a couple of Catholic boys who seemed to hate my guts for no other reason than my nominal Protestantism, something I did not flout because we weren't church-goers by any stretch As I grew up, I came to understand that this disdain probably came from the struggles of their parents and grandparents to get a fair shake in "Toronto The Good." My seventh grade year, coincidentally, marked the first time Toronto had a mayor, David Crombie, who was not of the Orange Lodge.

Lou asks, quite legitimately,
Who made the teachers overnight experts on the sensitive issues? What if a teacher isn't comfortable instructing with certain topics? School boards policies and government legislation can never "legalize" goodwill, respect and caring among its citizens. No matter how well intentioned a government may be it cannot legally force citizens to think and live in a certain way. Love of neighbor and God are matters of the heart and not the legislative assembly.
My first response, on teachers being "overnight experts," is unintentionally facetious. Lou, we teachers are the chief cooks and bottle washers. If there is a crisis or concern -- from stranger danger, to seatbelts, to sunscreen, to equity -- it's in our wheelhouse. As an elementary teacher -- based solely on nine months of teacher training, two practica, and an Intermediate AQ (I actually hold multiple AQs) -- I am qualified to teach every subject from Kindergarten to the eighth grade, including the ones I've never taught. It's always been up to us. As parents, we advocate primarily for our own children. As teachers, we build a community in a classroom and in a school. We also learn as we go. In my former role as a post-secondary English teacher, I attended many an inservice on equity to better equip myself to serve a changing student body. If a teacher isn't comfortable teaching certain topics, they need to rethink being in a public school.

This leads to something else that I believe has changed since my parents' lifetime. I had some exposure to corporal punishment in my Intermediate years at Del. My dad saw a lot of it going to school in the 30s and 40s on the Prairies. He joked to me once, "If you got strapped once at school; you got it twice at home." There was a time, now gone, when home and school subscribed to all the same values because everyone in the community shared in those values. And this is no longer the case. We've become more individualistic as a society, and schools are not equipped to please all parents.

As Lou well knows, our job is also a serious one. Like many teachers, I've had to take appropriate measures in cases of possible child endangerment (Lou, you know I can say no more than this). One winter morning I stood between 150 shrieking eighth graders and an out-of-control Rotweiller with no leash or collar, which I locked in a classroom, sustaining a minor bite to my arm. As parents, my wife and I supported our son through three very violent attacks that took place on or near his middle and high schools -- the third resulting in a fatality. I will share that I have worked in a school where we had to deal with the saddest thing of all -- the death of a child. Discomfort over addressing equity issues or teaching about sexual health should pale by comparison.

If it doesn't, the teacher in question is in the wrong job. We figure it out. We build an environment in which children can get along and see each other's gifts. As for teaching about loving a neighbour or God for that matter, you've been doing exactly this for forty years. And quite well, I'm sure. Whatever "the state" is saying at the moment, we figure out a way to make it work.

I do want to engage in a discussion of parental rights and religious accommodations in a future post. These are important topics. The latter goes to the very core of freedom of expression and is not to be trivialized. Not all religious doctrine runs counter to my own beliefs as an Atheist, a leftist, and a queer-identified man myself. If religious faith is to be dismissed, the same ultimately holds true for my beliefs. They have to co-exist.

In the remainder of this post, I want to touch on some of Lou's discussion of homosexuality:
Yes, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual has removed homosexuality as a mental disorder since 1973. The change came largely because of the research done by Alfred Kinsey. Many researchers today dispute Kinsey's findings. The American Psychiatric Association delisted homosexuality as a mental disorder because of changing beliefs and social pressure. So, science has not empirically fully answered the questions about homosexuality. The solution has mostly come from legislation and advocacy in the media, government and now schools. The teacher resource document we are discussing is an example of the efforts to further change attitudes and social norms.
Science also was not a factor in placing homosexuality on the DSM when it was created in 1952. Homosexual acts were criminal under traditional anti-sodomy laws which had also applied to heterosexual couples. (I imagine there was quite a long period of time when most people had no idea homosexuality even existed.) Those laws were rooted in scripture, not science, but medical professionals went along. Over time, the state stopped enforcing them against heterosexual couples. Keeping them on the books was purely a device to keep gays and lesbians in check.

When psychiatrists at that 1973 APA conference looked seriously at their gay patients, they considered that the distress they were experiencing was really quite normal. If one has been rejected by their church, community and family, that's not a recipe for good mental health. Corollary to that were the barbaric and ineffective methods used to treat gay patients: ECT, ice pick lobotomy, and even drugs that patients took to induce nausea while viewing sexually stimulating imagery -- aversion therapy. Likely, this latter method still available when my father, a closeted gay man at that point, was trying "the cure" with various psychiatrists in the sixties and seventies.

It was rubbish, and it didn't work. Few serious practitioners still defend it, and I question their motives. Testimonials of patients from those days are harrowing to read. Here's a chilling account of 1950s era patients from the British Medical Journal. I've run across a number of testimonials in which early patients receiving conversion therapies were surprised to be told that their doctors didn't anticipate success:
I said, “when am I going to find a breakthrough? You keep saying things will change and everything's going to be OK.” She [the psychiatrist] said, “well, I'm going to have to tell you nowI don't think we are going to get anywhere. To be quite honest I never expected we would in the first place. You're going to have to go home and tell your wife that you're gay and start a new life.” Boom!
As for Kinsey, his study is indeed fraught with problems -- inevitably so. Kinsey undertook a study that had people talking about something people were not used to talking about. His application of free-flowing dialogues with respondents in which they shared their personal narratives to researchers has been viewed with skepticism. The story-telling model, combined with careful encryption of data and confidentiality, was meant to put respondents at ease. From a sociological point of view, it was a legitimate method, already in use by that time, but it was challenging for gathering hard data. Notably, people might embellish here; hold back there. Kinsey attempted to allay concerns by gathering huge samples. He was a taxonomist, and he understood the value of sampling.

Kinsey's was not the most compelling research on homosexuality at the time; nor was it the only evidence reviewed by APA members. Dr Evelyn Hooker's ground-breaking research into comparative mental health of heterosexual and homosexual males didn't get the press Kinsey's work did. It wasn't a sexy, salacious headline grabber. She used three accepted, existing psychological tests -- independently administered -- in a double blind study. The American Psychological Association summarizes her findings:
In the 1950's, Dr. Evelyn Hooker studied 30 homosexual males and 30 heterosexual males recruited through community organizations. The two groups were matched for age, IQ, and education. None of the men were in therapy at the time of the study. Dr. Hooker administered three projective tests, which measure people's patterns of thoughts, attitudes, and emotions--the Rorschach, in which people describe what they see in abstract ink blots, the Thematic Apperception Test [TAT] and the Make-A-Picture-Story [MAPS] Test), in which people tell stories about different pictures. Unaware of each subject's sexual orientation, two independent Rorschach experts evaluated the men's overall adjustment using a 5-point scale. They classified two-thirds of the heterosexuals and two-thirds of the homosexuals in the three highest categories of adjustment. When asked to identify which Rorschach protocols were obtained from homosexuals, the experts could not distinguish respondents' sexual orientation at a level better than chance. A third expert used the TAT and MAPS protocols to evaluate the psychological adjustment of the men. As with the Rorschach responses, the adjustment ratings of the homosexual and heterosexuals did not differ significantly." Based on these findings, Dr. Hooker tentatively suggested that homosexuals were as psychologically normal as heterosexuals.
Dr Hooker's research prompted the American Psychological Association to follow the American Psychiatric Association. A brief documentary of Dr Hooker is available here:

You mention media pressure, Lou -- that cuts both ways. I'd recommend having a look at the film The Celluloid Closet, based upon the eponymous book by the late Vito Russo. The "Hays Code," established in the 1930s Hollywood, was still in force in the fifties and sixties, and it painstakingly prescribed not only what could shown be film, but also how it could be presented. Up until the 1940s or so, audiences saw characters that might be gay, in that they were flamboyant "sissy boys," but they were there for comic relief. In the fifties and sixties, filmmakers found they could depict gay characters, provided they were shown as dangerous and psychotic, and met with a violent death. Again, motion picture codes prevented a presentation of LGB people as ordinary or positive. This was part of what was known as exploitation cinema. These notions were very much ingrained on the public consciousness.

If we're going to talk media, here's another example. Boys Beware!, an educational "social guidance" film from 1961, produced by Sid Davis, who became extremely wealthy with his shorts, which were widely distributed in movie houses and schools. Boys Beware! contributed to the mythos of homosexual male as child abuser. In the first segment, teenaged "Jimmy" is placed on probation even though he his clearly the victim of predator "Ralph." Long before Westboro Baptist Church, North Americans were being taught to both fear and hate fags.

It's content like this, not any scientific research, that drove public perceptions of LGB people. Further, same-sex sexual acts were criminalized or taboo and LGB people had been subject to criminal prosecution and forced treatment. By the time they came into contact with health researchers and professionals, they were in bad shape. A self-fulfilling prophecy if you will.

I'm going to conjecture another reason you may have had for referencing Kinsey -- the disputed ten-percent figure. You blogged about this in The actual numbers about "sexual orientation," not the propaganda, in which you discuss the CDC survey, Sexual Orientation and Health Among U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2013. Such a survey is important, particularly in dispensing resources to meet the health needs of Americans. It is a milestone in that CDC felt it was important to consider LGB people at all. The overall finding, as you report, is that 3.4% of respondents identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. I have two things to say to this:

1. I have some concern about the data collection. A psychiatrist I know is very skeptical of government surveys of sexual identity. He explains that people are not inclined to be truthful when asked directly by a representative of their government what their sexual orientation is. In more than half of US states, LGBT Americans can be fired from their jobs, where there no state, local or county non-discrimination clause exists. Writing for Huffington Post, three sexual health researchers comment on the CDC's findings (emphasis mine):
Some LGBT health advocates have suggested that NHIS's finding that 2.3% of adults identify as LGB represents an undercount. It's possible. The CDC's methodology -- face to face interviews -- may lead to lower responses regarding LGB identity than a different approach, such as handing someone a tablet or iPad on which they can complete an anonymous survey. But 2.3% also falls within the range of five U.S. health and demographic surveys that asked about sexual orientation identity analyzed by demographer Gary Gates of the Williams Institute in 2011. Those surveys found that the percentage that identified as LGB ranged from 1.7% (in the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, 2004-2005) to 5.6% (in the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, 2009). Surveys in Canada, Europe and Australia conducted between 2005 and 2010 found that only between 1.2% and 2.1% of respondents identified as LGB.New CDC Data on Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Health Demonstrate Disparities, Resiliencies
They add, and this is quite significant,
Sexual orientation identity questions consistently get the lowest percentage of people saying that they are LGB -- on average about 3.5%. When people are asked if they engage in same-sex behavior, a higher percentage -- around 8% -- indicate that they do. Same-sex attraction gets the highest response rate -- around 11%.

2. If we are talking about equity, it doesn't really matter whether the number is four percent or ten percent. We already know that suicide is a leading cause of death in Canada among youth aged, 10 to twenty-four. Disproportionately represented in this group are Aboriginal and LGBT youth. If we examine transgender youth and adults separately, rates of suicidality climb dramatically from there.

Here are the Toronto Police Service Hate Crime Unit statistics for 2012. Note that Jewish people comprise about 4.1% of the population and blacks are about 8.4 percent:
The three most targeted groups since 2006 have been the Jewish community, the Black community, and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community. In 2012, the Jewish community, followed by the Black community, and the LGBT community were the most victimized groups.The three most reported criminal offences motivated by hate/bias in 2012 were mischief to property, assault, and criminal harassment. The Jewish community and the Black community are the most victimized group for mischief to property occurrences, while the LGBT and the Black community are the most victimized group for assault and criminal harassment occurrences.
We used the term minorities for a reason.

Whatever the size, LGBTQI populations experience significant discrimination and violence. Here's what is unique. If you're a kid a school who's being teased or bullied for being Black, Jewish or even overweight, you can go home to people who know that you're Black, Jewish, or overweight. There will be people at home who share in that experience and can provide support. If you're a queer kid, or a kid perceived as queer, home may not provide the same safety. Lou and I know perfectly well that if X number of people from a given group are attempting suicide, many more wait in the wings thinking about it. As I've written before, my father was a closeted gay man until his seventies. He had attempted suicide three times in his life.
I believe that "Diversity education" and the new sex education education are part of a strategy to promote and normalize homosexuality in schools. You say that "Accusations of 'normalizing homosexuality' in Ontario in this day and age are roughly akin to accusations of normalizing the helio-centric universe or gravity... Recognizing the laws of the universe such as gravity and comparing this to accepting or rejecting homosexuality is hardly a sound argument. We can accept and legalize abortion and euthanasia but that doesn't make it right. And that the earth spins around the sun is irrelevant.
I stand by the comparison, Lou, because LGBTQI people are normal. We exist. Four-to-eight percent of the population isn't an anomaly; it's a pattern. Linking gender identity and sexuality to abortion and euthanasia doesn't wash. These are not identities of people; these are acts of people. Indeed, abortion and euthanasia are choices that people make.

A portion of Lou's final remarks,
...However, consider this example of taking these topics too far. Remember the teacher who posted the graphic sex poster in his class that read, "If You Like to F__." This was in a grade 7 and 8 classroom. It was material not even fit for gay bars and bathhouses. This is evidence of just how "Equity education" and the age inappropriate sex education can be exploited and turn to child abuse.
I know the press reports of the case. I've the seen the poster. I don't know how you make the determination that it is "not even fit for gay bars or bathhouses" -- ACT's intended target audience. Two newspaper accounts, in The Toronto Sun and The National Post indicate the parent community was broadly in support of teacher Wade Vroom. He evidently polled parents at the start of the year, and many came to his defence. The reports indicated that he had said if anyone had a problem with the poster, it would come down. There were other materials available, and I would not comment on the lesson or unit without knowing the full context. It does seem though that the material appealed to many -- likely not all -- parents.

It's not a move I would make because I would be concerned that the language of the messaging would detract from the message. If assigned to teach Intermediate Health under the new curriculum, I would have no problem imparting the facts and consequences of oral and anal sex. The risk of STDs -- to take only one example -- applies universally, regardless of the present or future sex habits of the students, their orientation, culture or religion. Having worked much of my career with quite religiously devout populations of students, who might take umbrage with the language, it wouldn't be my first choice.

Back to the issue of context, cross-curricular instruction is common in the home room environment. A broad selection of health materials, targeted to different audiences, cross-pollinates with Media Studies. There's a worthwhile discussion to be had about the types of health materials that young people connect with. My own inclination though is that the language and imagery itself -- not the homosexuality -- might be distressing to some students, and for that reason, I wouldn't use it; anymore than I would use a similar poster with a man and a woman. I also note that police saw no basis for charges.
I hope you don't see this as "humanoid grunting" but a serious incident of just how "Equity education" belies what its promoters advocate and when challenged deny it.
No, Lou, my use of the phrase "humanoid grunting" refers a number of personalities and pundits who have dominated this discussion and have professed to speak for the faithful. I named them. I don't trust them because I believe they are opportunist fear mongers interested only in growing their subscriber lists. I've no interest in debating them or giving their ideas oxygen. I have a great deal of interest in hearing from an actual educator, such as yourself, who is invested in this work for reasons other than personal glorification.
Thank you Gordon for sharing your thoughts and best wishes. I believe we can work together to build the common good for the sake of Ontario's children of today and tomorrow.
And to you, Lou. You packed a lot into this post, and I had much to say in response. I'm going to ruminate further on parental rights, your work with PRIEDF, and religious accommodation in a future post. So consider this part one, and I wish you and yours a Happy Easter.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you Gordon for that detailed and considerate response. There's much more to say here. When all is said and done, I think you would agree that we can diagree, but together we want to make public space our different world views and still build the common good. I too want to wish and your family a happy, peaceful and blessed Easter.