Trustees Association Says No to GSAs

OCPA URGENTLY REQUESTS LETTERS supporting the OCSTA decision to protect the Catholic nature of anti-bullying clubs in Catholic schools.  

 

The government has suggested that Catholic schools will be pressured to accept the model of the GSA (gay straight alliance) in proposed Bill 14, an anti-bullying club devoted to supporting students experiencing bullying over sexuality issues, though the legislation itself provides for more than one model of club.  Nancy Kirby of the Catholic Trustees' Association (OCSTA) rightly said yesterday that Catholic schools will choose a name that will express a different model of targeting bullying.

  

Please write to the OCSTA and support their decision that clubs receive a Catholic name, such as the one chosen in the Halton Board, Open Arms.  Why does the name matter?  The bishops want names that follow out of Catholic beliefs about the human person, and the Catholic tradition does not teach that people primarily are their sexual identity.  Sexual identity is only one aspect of the wondrous, complex human person.  A club that supports students experiencing issues related to sexuality can only be part of a school support structure for students experiencing all kinds of bullying.  Students experiencing bullying of all sorts (and incidents connected to sexual identity are not the highest type in the schools) should receive equal, effective attention.  A club that supports students experiencing issues related to sexuality can only be part of a school support structure for students experiencing all kinds of bullying. 

  

Dalton McGuinty needs to stop catering to a small group of activists and insisting that the clubs be devoted to one issue and one interest group.  To make a bi-partisan appeal with this legislation he needs to ensure that school policy reflect the wishes of local communities and denominational boards. The common good in schools, Catholic or otherwise, which is the best interest of all students, can not be replaced by the agenda of a few.

  

The OCPA requests letters stating that Catholic schools' should implement club names such as Open Arms names suited to Catholic schools as per the direction of our bishops.  Send them to Kevin Kobus at the Catholic Trustees' Association.    
 

In your letter please make the following points:

 

  • Catholic schools' should implement a club name names suited to Catholic schools, such as Open Arms
  •  these clubs should be broad-based bullying clubs  
  • 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.   Since the Catechism of the Catholic Church 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 knowledgeable 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.

ONTARIANS:  Write to

Kevin Kobus at OCSTA

Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association                 kkobus@ocsta.on.ca 

                                                                                           416 932-9460 x 222

 

TORONTONIANS:   cc. them to

 

Patrick Keyes, Super. Student Success                     Patrick.keyes@tcdsb.org

                                                                                         416 222-8282 x 5370

 

Bruce Rodrigues, Director of Education                  bruce.rodrigues@tcdsb.org                                                                                                                                  416 222-8282

 

List of Trustees  (found in main menu, Links, TCDSB, Trustee List)

 
Comments