“Requests to exempt students from the very portions of the curriculum that promote diversity, inclusivity and acceptance cannot be granted without the risk of appearing to endorse the non-acceptance of students of other races, sexual orientations, family backgrounds, gender expression and gender identities,” states the Attorney General of Ontario’s factum.
If anyone doubts that Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government will overrule parental rights in favour of its inclusivity agenda on behalf of LGBTTIQ — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirited, intersex, queer and questioning — students and parents, the evidence — literally — points clearly and abundantly to the fact that it will, and is.
And if anyone doubts that teachers in the public school system are encouraged to bring up references to LGBTTIQ issues in any and all subjects at their discretion, because equity and inclusivity is embedded in the curriculum, again, the evidence is in.
That evidence is found in the opposition factums in the Steve Tourloukis case, heard June 23 by Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Reid, and in which the Wynne Liberal government intervened on behalf of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, as did the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario.
“Requests to exempt students from the very portions of the curriculum that promote diversity, inclusivity and acceptance cannot be granted without the risk of appearing to endorse the non-acceptance of students of other races, sexual orientations, family backgrounds, gender expression and gender identities,” states the Attorney General of Ontario’s factum. (Download the full factum here.)
“Children who are themselves LGBT, who had LGBT parents, family or friends, or who had experienced homophobic or transphobic bullying based on being perceived as LGBT, could feel less valued and accepted if the Applicant’s children left the room every time people like them or their family or friends were discussed,” stated the document, submitted by lawyers Josh Hunter and Emily Bala.
The government lawyers argued that, given “the Legislature’s pressing and substantial objective of ensuring that public schools are accepting, inclusive, and diverse,” it follows that “permitting the Applicant’s children to leave the classrooms whenever planned lessons communicate acceptance of different family backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities or gender expression would undermine that Legislative purpose.”
HWDSB lawyer Mark Zega argued much the same.
“How could the Board provide an accommodation that would forbid a teacher from stating that there is nothing wrong with same-sex marriage and allowing a child to leave class every time such a topic arises, when the Board is required to discourage homophobia in schools?”
This, he stated, “would amount to an implicit condemnation of person who have suffered prejudice and stereotyping, and who have been singled out on the basis of their sexuality.”
The Tourloukis case: asking for advance notice
Tourloukis, as readers may know, is the Hamilton dentist and father of two who asked his public school to give him advance notice when teachers would be presenting on a number of sensitive subjects, so he could decide if his children could opt out, if they risked being exposed to “false teaching” according to their Greek Orthodox faith.
These topics included, among others, “discussions or portrayals of sexual conduct that he determines to be unnatural/unhealthy (anal sex, oral sex, sadism, masochism, fetishes, bondage, etc.),” and “discussions or portrayals of homosexual/bisexual conduct and relationships and/or transgenderism as natural, healthy.”
When Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board refused his request, Tourloukis launched a legal action in 2012, asking for court declarations that he has final say over what his kids are taught in school, and that the school board’s refusal to give him advance notice violates his Charter rights.
The board told Tourloukis he was free to remove his children from public school, and enrol them in Catholic or private school or homeschool them.
Since his initial request six years ago, when his daughter was in JK and his son in Grade 2, Tourloukis has repeatedly insisted he does not object to his children learning the facts.
What he wants is “advance notice if the teacher is going to be presenting their subjective opinion as fact. It’s the value judgements,” he said, according to the HWDSB factum. “I think that presenting a value judgment as a fact is intellectually dishonest.”
Stating that two people of the same sex are legally “married” is “completely different than saying there is nothing morally wrong with two people of the same sex being married,” Tourloukis says. “The issue is always the presentation of value judgements as facts to my children…”