But it is the behaviour of the adults I would like to discuss today. We'll start with the organizer of the Thorncliffe Park spectacle Khalid Mahmood, head of the Thorncliffe Parents' Association. Mr Mahmood is a past chair of the school council at Thorncliffe. On the day of the strike, he sat down with CBC Radio's Matt Galloway, the host of Metro Morning:
Mr Mahmood believes the curriculum sexualizes children and will prompt them to experiment early -- despite evidence to the contrary. A fourth grade expectation, he insists, encourages children to date. It doesn't. It's a possible student response to an optional teacher prompt. Heres the expectation:
Human Development and Sexual HealthHere's one teacher prompt and a possible response.
C1.5 describe the physical changes that occur in males and females at puberty (e.g., growth of body hair, breast development, changes in voice and body size, production of body odour, skin changes) and the emotional and social impacts that may result from these changes [PS]
Teacher prompt: “What can change socially as you start to develop physically?”
Student: “Relationships with friends can change, because sometimes people start being interested in different things at different times. Some people start ‘liking’ others. They want to be more than ‘just friends’ and become interested in going out. Sometimes people treat you as if you are older than you actually are because of how you look. Sometimes classmates, friends, or family make comments or tease you about the changes.”
So going steady might be on the minds of some children. If it comes up in classroom discussion -- and it likely will at some point -- talking about it and understanding that it is a normal part of growing up is not the same thing as sending the young couple to Tahiti for the weekend.
The other point of this is -- if a child asks as question in the classroom, an adult should make the effort to answer it. Unless, of course, we're bound and determined to return to the sperm-and-the-egg (minus-the-penis-and-vagina) lesson I sat through in the same school nearly forty-five years ago.
There's also a lengthy discussion about masturbation and the curriculum's failure to impart that Mr Mahmood objects to it.
So that's the undercard; let's get to the main event. Matt Galloway's mom raised no fools, and so the host probes for a connection between the animus for the curriculum and the sexual orientation of our Premier Kathleen Wynne:
MG: There are people who say that this is about values when it comes to the Premier, that we have an openly gay Premier, and that this is rooted in homophobia. What is your response to that?
KM: They are having their own life and they have a right to spend their life and we have respect for them. We're not asking about anything bad to them. We also want the same respect to our end as well. I mean, Canada has to proud on the diverse value. It is a beauty that we are living in a diverse society, so we believe that everyone has to be taken care and everyone has to be included.
MG: So this doesn't have anything to do with the fact that Kathleen Wynne is a lesbian?
KM: Kathleen Wynn, this is her agenda and now her party is paying the cost of that...
MG: So it does have something to do with the fact that she is a lesbian.
KM: Yeah, I mean they are forcing these things, they are forcing these things, not only now but the last twenty years. And not only sex education curriculum, but telling about homosex... I mean that are having their life, and they can spend it, but they shouldn't enforce to other students, create so many activities, daily basis in the school that is really alarming situation.Inexplicably, Mr Mahmood went back for more the next morning on Global TV's The Morning Show.
Liza Fromer challenges him repeatedly on his facts and stops him dead in his tracks over his explanation of how body parts will be taught in the first grade. Mr Mahmood again harps on the refrain that he and his neighbours weren't consulted. All due respect to him, neither was I -- and I've been teaching HPE, among other subjects, for thirteen years. If he wasn't consulted, then he has no clue about how it will be taught.
Ms Fromer, pointing out that her children are the same age as Mr Mahmood's, says that she approves of the curriculum, which he says has "bad things." It gets heated, as she continues to correct his claims. In a desperate attempt to sound authoritative and relevant, Mr Mahmood calls for a referendum, and even an opt-in for the curriculum. He is, frankly, far more combative with Ms Fromer than he was with his male interviewer the day before.
Enough of Mr Mahood, for now.
Another player in the Thorncliffe Park protests is Sam Sotiropoulos, who spoke on the first day of the strike, demanding that Kathleen Wynne "come back to the table" to discuss the demands of parents he professes to represent. Today, he appeared by telephone on CBC Radio's Ontario Today with Rita Celi. If you're bound and determined to hear Mr Sotiropoulos opine, his interview is in the first segment. During the exchange, Ms Celi begins to share a personal story in which she was being chased as a seven-year-old by older boys using vulgar language. She was trying to make the point that nearly forty-five years ago, these boys already knew about sex and power.
The former trustee interjects, "Are you saying they were about to have sexual intercourse with you, maybe anal intercourse, oral intercourse?" And he talked about sexual "proclivities" of homosexuals.
As the kids might say, @trusteesam gonna @trusteesam.
In the most eloquent of rebuttals, Ms Celi chose her Call of the Day very well:
And here's the Call of the Day: Some people are bad parents.
And I have a little something to say about the behaviour of Mr Mahmood and Mr Sotiropoulos.
Between the two of them... Pulling children out of school. Telling them not to trust their teachers. Spinning conspiratorial tales about the machinations of a lesbian premier. Jokes about sexual harassment. Insulting LGBTQI children and families.
And they want a seat at the table?
Here ya go, fellas.
The grownups are talking.