Laurel Broten on GSAs

The OCPA requests letters to Education Minister Laurel Broten stating that Catholic schools’ should implement anti-bullying strategies suited to Catholic schools as per the direction of our bishops.  Send them to 

Hon. Laurel C. Broten

Ministry of Education
22nd Floor, Mowat Block

900 Bay Street

Toronto, Ontario M7A 1L2

In your letter please make the following points:

  • Regarding the issue of what kind of anti-bullying clubs ought to be included in Catholic schools, Catholic bishops have been clear that GSAs (gay-straight alliance clubs) are not the model suited to Catholic schools (this point was made in a letter from Most Rev. Paul-André Durocher, ACBO to Kevin Kobus, OCSTA, January 20, 2010.) 
  • Catholic policy makers are opposed to the primary assumption of the GSA model that a person is defined by his or her sexuality.   The Catechism teaches that 
            A person is not defined by his or her sexuality.
A club that promotes the identification of a person's identity with their gender is not suited to Catholic schools.
  • An anti-bullying club in a Catholic school should address all forms of bullying.  When a Catholic looks at bullying it does not proceed by looking at a person as gendered-first.  Nor should a club.
  • Clubs should allow student input but they should not be student led.  Peer support of the kind that could be offered by a GSA, should not in any case be the primary or sole type of support offered to a student at risk.  When one looks at the recent suicide of student Jamie Hubley in Ottawa, the fact that his parents asked donations to go to mental health programs suggests that they regarded this aspect of Jamie's situation as fundamental, as discussed on a recent episode of Michael Coren’s show, the Arena.  Student clubs must be moderated and led by knowledgable adults.  The consequences of the failure to identify students at risk are most grave.  Helping students at risk in schools means involving trained adults to identify students at risk and sensitively offer the help of knowledgeable counselors and psychiatrists.