|Inclusive education needs a reality check|
You will certainly be surprised when we tell who these paranoid and dangerous people the articles describe really area: they are ordinary Christian parents who want to have a say in the moral education of their children. But in Ontario, and in most of Canada, it seems this may no longer be possible. The whole issue has been all over the media this week because Dr. Steve Tourloukis, a dentist, who happens to be a practicing Greek Orthodox and living in Hamilton wants to direct his children's education when it comes to marriage, family and human sexuality. Is this really so radical? This parent, after trying unsuccessfully for a year and a half to work with his children's teachers and school board officials, is now suing the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. Why? Because they have repeatedly refused his request to exempt his children from classes that contradict his religious tenets. According to the school board, this kind of accommodation is not allowed with equity and inclusive education because it would discriminate against some students.
The parent has been told to take his children out of the public system and either home school them or send them to a private school. This father believes his parental rights have been violated. He never wanted to take the case to court. The Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund have stepped in to help cover the legal fees. In his view, his children have a right to a public education because he pays taxes. But in an effort to discredit religious and parental rights in some media circles this has now become "radical", "bigoted", "homophobic" and a threat to public education. It seems that Christianity is now the enemy of public education.
To teach children in Ontario about abstinence, God, traditional marriage and heterosexuality has never been an extremist position. However, in some media stories espousing the politics of correctness, this will undermine the entire public school system. Teachers must be free to teach about gay sex, politics, women's rights, the bias of heterosexism, homophobia and any other diversity topic that comes along. It must all be tolerated and included in the school curricula. Parents must accept without question gay/straight alliances in every school. Should Christian principles get in the way, then it all becomes unreasonable, unacceptable and something that cannot and must not be accommodated in schools. Ontario children must get a "real" education on diversity and tolerance. This no doubt means, for example, that the theory of evolution must be taught not as a theory, but a fact. How else can students one day be ready to face the "real" world? Parents should move out of the way. Religious beliefs have no place in public education. The school system knows what's best.
The provincial government, school boards across Ontario and the media have for years now pushed their agenda on the rest of society to accept inclusive education. Anyone who supports parental rights, Christian beliefs and religious freedom is quickly silenced by being dubbed as having an ideology that stifles teaching and wishes to censor instruction. However, the real issue remains: Do parents in this province have the right to disagree and to teach and guide the moral education of their children? Do we have religious liberty in Canada? If the answer is yes, then there should be room in the school system for the Christian view. Otherwise it's all mere rhetoric when there's talk about the "tolerance" of inclusive education, because the fact remains that Christian beliefs are been rejected by school boards and our current provincial government.
Let's not get confused with the media spin on this issue that some "radical" parental group wants to exercise their rights and are the cause of the problem. Instead, the battle is over the policy of political correctness and inclusive education that's been forced on the parents and children of this province. Christian parents have not been the ones who have passed laws like Bill 13 and Bill 33 which make certain religious beliefs and ideas more difficult to live. These new laws and policies were supposed to protect everyone from being bullied. Yet the very government and the school boards which claimed to want to end bullying have turned out to be bullies themselves; bullies against those who disagree with them as they exercise their parental and democratic rights. A truly inclusive education would welcome, respect and protect differences. It should not use the law to force people into accepting the politics of coercion and one-sided tolerance. "Equity" education is in terrible need of a reality check.
The school system cannot pretend to be tolerant and at the same time reject a parent's request to exercise his rights to withdraw his children from material or topics that contradict his faith. If it says no to parental rights and religious freedom, it's saying that we are all forced to be support and celebrate families with two moms and two dads, men having sex with men and a dozen or so sexual orientations. This is not an inclusive and tolerant educational system, unless positive sounding words alone make it so. No, it's rather the beginning of the end of parental rights, religious freedom and true democracy in Ontario as well as the rest of Canada.