Ontario equity guidelines imperil religious education
An analysis of the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM No. 199) dealing with “Developing and Implementing Equity and Inclusive Education Policies in Ontario Schools” says that while some goals are laudable, the new policy could imperil the Catholicity of the province’s separate school system.
The analysis, prepared for Campaign Life Coalition by a retired educator, says there is “much that is good” in the policy which seeks to provide equal opportunity to all students to “learn, grow and contribute to our society.” But the policy “over-reaches on the issue of homosexuality” and “presents serious challenges” to Christian schools by undermining their ability to present the moral teachings of the church. The policy would apply to both taxpayer-funded public and separate systems as well as independent Christian schools.
The analysis says the equity policy never properly defines equity but presumes it to be a good thing in its own right. Furthermore, it does not recognize any religion-based understanding of the dignity of individuals which may conflict with the program’s position on homosexuals and homosexuality.
CLC has contacted school board trustees, trustee candidates, and Catholic bishops and pastors, to express their concern with PPM No. 199. The CLC National News says that the new policy could result “in increased moral confusion among staff and students” and “create systemic conflicts in Catholic schools and the education system as a whole,” warning that “the future of the Catholic school system is at stake and the rights of parents are imperiled.”
CLC notes that the new equity policies “will impact on all aspects of the school system – from course curriculum to the hiring and training of staff.”
The analysis provided to CLC said, “However well-intentioned the desire to respect the innate dignity of all human beings, the problem arises when the program is hijacked by special interest groups, including homosexual activists and their allies. That appears to be a realistic concern.”
In it’s annual report, the Ontario Human Rights Code boasted in July how it has advanced the cause of gay rights. Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall prefaced the report with the statement: “Our work can be summed up in three words: educate, empower and act – actions that can transform written rights into lived rights.” To that end, the OHRC says it is working hard to bring its message of “inclusiveness” to children in school. Under the heading of “Talking human rights, one school at a time,” the OHRC says that, “Working with educators is key to our goal of an inclusive school system for all of Ontario’s children.”
Armed with PPM No. 199, OHRC bureaucrats and complainants would have more tools to use against anyone within the education system who criticizes homosexual acts, thus further “normalizing” the lifestyle choice.
Indeed, as LifeSiteNews.com reported upon release of the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s annual report, “Under the guise of helping students with developmental disabilities and children from various ethnic backgrounds feel comfortable in their school environment, the OHRC has focused a great deal of its energy on promoting the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy (Equity Strategy), which has been highly controversial due to its heavy emphasis on acceptance of homosexuality as ‘normal’.”
Furthermore, LSN notes that the report states, “While the Equity Strategy is being implemented, we continue to provide support to key stakeholders like the Ontario Education Services Corporation (OESC), the Ministry of Education, Inclusive Education Branch and Regional Equity and Inclusive Education Networks.”
CLC notes in its newsletter that “Going through the regulations and discussions, we have discovered that teachers and counselors will advise students to not discuss sexual orientation or their own sexual activities and attractions with their parents if they (the students) feel that parents will not be supportive or open to homosexuality.” As CLC explains, “Everyone should have grave concerns with directives from the Ministry of Education to hide anything from parents about their children.”