Daily Shame #5
BC refuses to make new course compulsory or even an elective...
Homophobia - licensed to pursue in BC
First Quebec and now British Columbia gets in on the act (part way) and the religious right is up in arms on Pacific as they are on the St. Lawrence. The Ministry of Education is offering an elective course which school boards and can choose to offer or not. The BC minister of education has stated the course would not be compulsory as a similar one in Quebec is.
At issue is a course the ministry developed after they lost a human rights complaint. The resulting settlement agreement was that a course be created addressing diversity, respect and tolerance for BC school children. The course is called MAKING SPACE, GIVING VOICE.
The school system therefore strives to create and maintain conditions that foster success for all students and that promote fair and equitable treatment for all. These conditions include;Alas the BC government has not made the course mandatory as an offered elective. Each school district can choose to make it available or not. That's why this has hit the news. A BC couple, Murray and Peter Corren, have taken the School District in Abbotsford to the BC Human Rights tribunal for failing to offer the elective course even after 90 students have signed on to take it.
• equitable access to and equitable participation in quality education for all students
• school cultures that value and honour diversity and respond to the diverse social and cultural needs of the communities they serve
• school cultures that promote understanding of others and respect for all
• learning and working environments that are safe and welcoming, and free from discrimination, harassment and violence
• decision-making processes that give a voice to all members of the school community
• policies and practices that promote fair and equitable treatment for all.
(Diversity in BC Schools: A Framework, 2004, p.
Murray Corren said..."We have waited long enough for the Board to reconsider its decision,The National Post says... 'The Education Ministry, Social Justice 12 is not
and now we feel the students are entitled to the learning opportunities
afforded by Social Justice 12, as opposed to the replacement watered-down
course offered by the Board. In fact, the students and their parents were
fully aware of the content of Social Justice 12 and were looking
forward to what it had to offer."
a course on homosexuality, but one meant to "raise students' awareness of
social injustice, to enable them to analyze from a social justice perspective,
and to provide them with knowledge, skills and an ethical framework to
advocate for a socially just world."'
Class discussion varies from a range of topics affecting society's aggrieved, including homophobia, ageism, consumerism and even species-ism -- the mistreatment of animals.The class is expected to discuss a wide range of issues. One of those that has the ire of the religious right, such as the Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL), is about those people that have sex with the same sex. You know who they are, all those fags, gays, queers, lesbos, trannies.
It seems CCRL have still not accepted the rights of all Canadians, just those that agree with them. I can hardly wait for us to get the public money out of the discriminatory Catholic school education system here in Ontario. That will take time I expect as the Premier of this province won't rock the boat at least not until after the next election.
The Shame here is largely however with the BC Minister of Education and the Gordon Campbell government. They have consistently shied away from moving forward on equality issues. In 2000, the then BC NDP government joined the court fight for marriage rights of same-sex couples. The Campbell government, soon after being sworn in withdrew their support of the effort.
The BC Govt could at least have some of the moxie displayed by the Quebec government. Ensuring this course, "Making Space, Giving Voice," was an available elective in BC schools is the least the Campbell Government could do. Their failure provides a license to promote homophobia as the unofficial official school policy.
See Montreal Simon: Bullied Children and the Gay Bashers