Waterloo Catholic board backs away from GSAs
But religious school system still flirts with gay activism
The Waterloo Catholic District School Board will not establish gay-straight alliances (GSAs) in its schools. after a controversy flared up following Catholic trustee Anthony Piscitelli’s introduction of a motion on April 23 asking trustees to consider creating GSAs. He received support from one other Catholic trustee, Janek Jagiellowicz.
The chair of the board, Manuel da Silva, later requested that Piscitelli withdraw the motion. Piscitelli complied with the request, because, the Waterloo Region Record reported, he did not think his motion would receive the necessary support from his fellow trustees. According to da Silva, the motion could not be heard at the meeting on April 30 because Piscitelli did not put it through the chair’s office, which violated a board bylaw.
At the April 30 meeting, trustees heard Spencer Small, a 23-year-old university student who used to attend Monsignor Doyle Catholic Secondary School in Cambridge. He reported that he felt marginalized and anxious as a result of being gay during his high school years. Gay students, Small told the trustees, “will continue to exist in your schools and they will experience bullying. It’s your duty to have a safe environment for students.”
Board consultant Jonathan Wright said that there is a task force looking into how to best help young people experiencing same-sex attractions. Wright said it is the board’s “moral mandate” to protect all students. The Record reported that St. Mary’s High School in Kitchener already has a homosexual support group called PRISM (Pride and Respect for Individuals of a Sexual Minority) that Campaign Life Catholics says is a GSA in everything but name and is therefore in violation of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario guidelines prohibiting gay-straight alliances.
The Buddy Choir also performed Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way” and John Lennon’s “Imagine” at the meeting. The Buddy Choir is an “inclusive” choir sponsored by the Waterloo Regional Down Syndrome Society intended for children with Down syndrome and anyone else who wants to join. Lyn McGinnis, a member of the choir who describes himself as a “bisexual and gender variant activist” wrote in a blog post that the performance was “historic” because “it is one thing to sing about acceptance and inclusion to the converted, it is quite another to do so before an audience with issues about some members of our human family.” Gaga’s 2011 hit “Born this Way” is an anthem within the LGBT community.
Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life Catholics told The Interim that in requesting the withdrawal of Piscitelli’s motion, the board “responded to the parents and ratepayers who were outraged at the violation of Catholic morality” and the disobedience of the bishops’ directives. Yet, the fight is not over. According to Fonseca, the board is still pushing a gay agenda. After all, it “brought in a … ‘gender-variant’ activist to sing Lady Gaga’s ode to gay pride.”
Fanseca also said, “Piscitelli told The Record he hopes the Respecting Difference groups will still emulate and function as a GSA.” To solve the problem, ratepayers “need to take over the board” and run against existing representatives to “return authentic Catholic beliefs to that board.”