A school trustee in Chilliwack has met harsh words an angry mob of citizens when he spoke against sexual orientation and gender identity policies. Barry Neufeld posted a long statement on his publicly-accessible Facebook page, saying “I can no longer sit on my hands. I have to stand up and be counted.” Neufeld is talking about the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity curriculum being introduced in public schools this year that aims to equip educators of all backgrounds and experiences with tools and resources for “supporting marginalized LGBTQ students and for creating safer and more inclusive school environments for all students.”
He called the new efforts by the Ministry of Education to create tolerance for all sexualities “the latest fad” that has turned into a “weapon of propaganda” for gender theories.
To discuss equality and tolerance, kindness and understanding among people is a good thing. To force it on unsuspecting children and parents on its real agenda is another.
Ryan Anderson, Senior Research Fellow in American Principles and Public Policy of The Heritage Foundation, says that SOGI laws “threaten the freedom of citizens, individually and in associations, to affirm their religious or moral convictions—convictions such as that marriage is the union of one man and one woman or that maleness and femaleness are objective biological realities to be valued and affirmed, not rejected or altered.” The last time I checked Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights, everyone has the freedom of conscience and religion and freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, among other things. If we follow the prescription of Section 2, the SOGI curriculum, as a specific school curriculum, is violating the first and second part of Section 2 because it undermines our right to choose based on our freedom of religion and belief. If, for example, the SOGI curriculum were a curriculum on Sikhism, Judaism or Islam or Christianity, it would not have been approved at all. The study of slavery and its impacts on society, as well as the injustices of the Komagata Maru, the Chinese Head Tax, etc. only form part of Social Studies, and does not intend to give a paradigm shift in one’s belief and convictions.
While it is true and noble that we should teach children that no one should be discriminated against, the whole point of implementing SOGI is a form of discrimination – it discriminates people who do not have the same beliefs and do not subscribe to what SOGi is teaching. Christianity, Sikhism, Judaism and Islam all subscribe to the religious belief that marriage is a natural union between an man and a woman. To teach SOGI means to teach children from these cultures that what they have come to know and believe in as a system of values is wrong and should therefore be set aside for this “new” belief. It changes an entire culture, the good with the bad, for the sake of being politically correct.
Teachers who are asked to teach this curriculum have just been given the package this year, leaving no time to study and train for it. Not all teachers subscribe to SOGI either, and so they will half-heartedly teach it because they fear that if they don’t, they will lose their jobs. Parents in Langley have protested against it because there was no prior consultation on it, and they were not informed.
So, as a parent, what can you do?
You must ask your child’s teacher for the materials being given to them. This will give you an opportunity to look at it, and know how to discuss it with your own children so that they are not confused with what the school teaches and what your own family values teach them. This is the sad fact of it, that the SOGI curriculum undermines our rights as parents to teach our children our own values, and we feel we cannot do anything about it. It is necessary to have a dialogue with your teacher and principal about your misgivings, and let them know that you do not agree with the curriculum. For now, this is all you can do.
In Ontario, when the new sex education curriculum was introduced to include teaching Grade 7 students about anal sex, one out of six parents pulled out their children from the class, and were allowed to do so. Hopefully, BC follows suit, so that parents can have this option. While teachers act in loco parentis while children are at school, they still do not know fully what is best for a child in their class – the best intentions still come from the parents. This is why standing up for something that as a family you do not agree with is important, as it is still our responsibility as parents to raise our children with the values we want them to have, not what the world wants them to possess.