BY Teresa Pierre
TORONTO, October 9, 2013

Hats Off to Halton for Standing its Ground on HPV
        The Halton Catholic District School Board is experiencing heated pressure to offer the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine at schools, according to an article in the Burlington Post on Oct. 4.  The same theme is playing out elsewhere in Alberta, where the chair of the ironically named Medicine Hat Catholic board has claimed he is being harassed by a not-for-profit group called HPV Canada.

        Halton Catholic bans distribution of the HPV vaccine because it believes young people should be directed to treat sexual activity as a gift reserved for marriage.  Offering the HPV shot as though sexual activity is a foregone conclusion pretty much wipes this goal off the screen.  Bishop Fred Henry said in a widely-read letter on the subject released in 2012 that in order to be internally consistent, Catholic educators: 'do not want to send any mixed signals about pre-marital sexual activity.' 

        In 2012 the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario took the same stand as Bishop Henry when the point was debated in the Toronto Catholic Board. According to an article in Inside Toronto, the bishops said at the time, "Sexual activity is appropriate only within marriage," the letter reads. "Outside of marriage, abstinence is not only clearly the choice that leads to spiritual and moral well-being, but it is obviously the best protection against risks of the disease."  

        Discussions in the media have typically shown little regard for the Church's position, as in the headline in the National Post's editorial section Oct. 8 that claimed the Alberta board was putting "ideology before kids."  No mention that these leaders might have the backing of thousands of parents who believe they are offering their children a wholistic approach to life that benefits both the body and the mind.  The parents of the Halton Board have yet to be consulted on the policy changes and in the interest of transparency and accountability Parents As First Educators has created a petition to bring parental support for the current Halton HPV vaccine policy to the attention of Trustees.

        We are asking ratepayers two favours: 


1) Sign the Petition!


               Let's send the Catholic Trustees of the Halton Catholic Board a strong message of support!  A petition is                                  now open demanding Trustees vote "no" to lifting the ban on the HPV vaccine!  Please sign the petition 
               and pass it on to your friends.                      


2) Write to your Trustee and demand public consultation.

For a major policy change such as this Trustees should be asking for ratepayers' input.  Please contact Halton Trustees and ask when they will be providing opportunity for your feedback.      

Diane Rabenda (Milton)                         905-632-6314 x. 7185        rabendad@hcdsb.org
Arlene Iantomasi (Burlington 1 &2)     905-632-6314 x. 7182         iantomasia@hcdsb.org  
Anthony Danko (Oakville)                       905-825-9159                      dankoa@hcdsb.org
Alice Lemay (Oakville)                            905-825-9108                       lemaya@hcdsb.org
Paul Marai (Oakville)                               905-842-3826                       maraip@hcdsb.org
Jane Michael (Burlington 3 & 6)            905-319-6582                      michaelj@hcdsb.org
John Morrison (Burlington 4 & 5)          905-632-6314 x. 7184        morrisonj@hcdsb.org
John Mark Rowe (Halton Hills)             905-877-9510                       rowem@hcdsb.org
Ed Viana (Oakville)                                  905-845-2761                       vianae@hcdsb.org