Friday, June 01, 2012
All week long I have been trying to figure out what I think of the Ontario government's legislated insistence that Gay-Straight Alliances be allowed in every school, including those with a religious base. Just so you know, I still don't have a clue.
On the surface it is a no-brainer from my standpoint. If students want to use this name, they should not be impeded from doing so. You may remember, I commended one of our St. Paul's teens who was recognized for getting A G-S group going in his high school.
And yet... In this province we continue to fund a Roman Catholic school system which upholds what it views as core religious values, as is its right by law. I may disagree with some of those values, but the government has done nothing to eliminate publicly funded RC schools in favour of a universal school system. Other faith-based schools are entirely on their own when it comes to funding, yet we perpetuate this curious anomaly rooted in the 19th century. How can we avoid this controversial issue of funding, yet dictate values?
I also wonder how much this of this is the political "flavour of the day" even as I support the positive outcome of the dialogue that these G-S groups encourage. If this is really about bullying in the broadest definition, does the name Gay-Straight Alliance create too narrow a focus? Here are the goals of the G-S Alliance network from its website:
create safe environments in schools for students to support each other and learn about homophobia, transphobia, and other oppressions,
educate the school community about homophobia, transphobia, gender identity, and sexual orientation issues, and
fight discrimination, harassment, and violence in schools.
Of course, to add to the discussion, Premier McGuinty and his wife are both Roman Catholics, and she teaches in the RC system. Curiouser and curiouser.
Ah smart readers, have you got this sorted out?