It was a little more than a week ago that i posted the story of the Halton Catholic District School Board [HCDSB] in Canada not allowing a Gay/Straight Alliance [GSA][ to be formed at their schools because, well, they don’t allow Nazi’s to form groups either [original post HERE].
Yes, gays and Nazi’s are apparently very similar to the HCDSB.
Well, now it seems that, after many vocal complaints and protests, they may have changed their minds, though the board’s new equity policy may still discriminate against gays.
Former HCDSB student James Hopkins gave trustees a picture of what it’s like growing up gay in small town Ontario, and says he plans to pressure the Ministry of Education to push for one equity and inclusive education policy for all school boards.
Catholic and otherwise.
Hopkins: “Day in, day out, I suffered. What I, and so many other gay youth, experience is not an act of hatred, but one of fear. Without exposure [to gay people], how do we fight ignorance?”
And then, iIn a 6-2 vote, trustees decided to rescind the ban on GSAs and shelve the equity and inclusive education policy. While a new policy is being drafted, the board will use the Catholic “template”–a version of Ontario’s equity policy that’s written specifically for English Catholic boards.
Originally Halton wasn’t satisfied with the Catholic template, so they made a few edits, like removing words like “sexual orientation” and “gender” and then altogether banning GSAs.
Board chair, Alice Anne Lemay, when asked whether or not the board will allow groups to be called gay-straight alliance clubs, refused to answer: “I can’t answer that tonight, the policy will go to senior administration and will be implemented in the schools.”
See, it’s all in the word gay, because if you use the word gay then kids might start thinking they’re gay and then you’ll have an infestation of gay kids looking for acceptance and tolerance and a place to go where they can be themselves and, well, for the HCDSB, that’s just wrong.
I think they believe that Catholic kids, because they go to Catholic Church and Catholic schools, will not ever be gay; it must be those other religions, and those atheists, that produce the queer children.
And, even thought the ban has now been lifted, the HCDSB may follow suit with other Catholic school boards and adopt a broad “diversity group” policy, creating space for anti-discrimination groups, which allow students to discuss a number of social justice issues, such as racism, sexism, poverty and homophobia.
Which is nice, but will not expressly work to find a safe haven for gay students.