The report cites as an example the fact that the new Bill 13 will force Catholic schools to accept and support the operation of Gay/Straight Alliance clubs. Additionally, students could be subject to “forced activism” such as mandatory participation at a Pride Parade designed for J-K to grade 3 students.
The report points out that the government’s strategy is problematic in that it aims to move beyond thethreshold of “tolerance” of diverse viewpoints to “respect” and “acceptance”. If not kept in check, the unpleasant result may be a climate of “forced acceptance” of dominant viewpoints within the education system.
The report warns that the government’s strategy allows for partnering with outside “community groups”. As a result, the school curriculum will be vulnerable to the undue influence of special interest and activist groups.
The report’s chief concern with the new Bill-13 is its definition of bullying. The definition is too narrow because it stereotypes bullying, reducing it to a “power imbalance”: the privileged picks on the weak. The report says that the law fails to include other bullying scenarios motivated by factors such as mental health issues, or emotional problems.
The mechanism by which the government’s strategy is to be implemented is to have the local school board implement many of its own initiatives. The report observes that such an implementation could result in inconsistent results across the province.
The report concludes by making 6 key recommendations to parents which can be summarized as follows:
1) Stay knowledgeable about school events and things that will impact your child’s learning environment.
2) Be proactive about bullying and discrimination situations by following upwith the school when incidents occur.
3) Hold school boards and trustees accountable for so that diversity of thought and opinion is maintained.
4) Obtain clarification from your school board and local school administration as to the role of your child’s teacher in addressing beliefs and opinions.
5) Engage yourself in your child’s education.
6) Make sure that your children know what your expectations are, and hold them accountable.
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