Monday, January 10, 2011

Message to Halton Catholics: Banning gay-straight alliances promotes bullying, anti-gay discrimination

Shame on yet another Catholic school board stuck with its collective head up its arse, more worried about offending Pope Benedict in Rome than helping isolated, closeted teens in their care avoid violence and discrimination.

Added shame on Halton Catholic school board chair Alice Anne LeMay for her ill-advised comments defending a ban on gay-straight alliances in Halton Catholic schools, for which she's awkwardly and unconvincingly apologized.

We know that our high schools across Canada and elsewhere continue to be hotbeds of intolerance and bullying. Some leaders have taken action to counter that violence and intimidation.

But teenagers being teenagers will continue to harass and belittle their fellow schoolmates like they always do without strong leadership from the top telling them it's wrong.

To think, an out, gay, Catholic student living in Halton might ask that s/he and her/his straight friends be allowed to form a gay-straight alliance (GSA) in their high school and they'd be turned down flat because the Halton Catholic board believes such groups are harmful and, “don’t fall within the teachings of the Catholic church.”

Disgusting. Especially considering that by banning groups that promote tolerance and acceptance, you are, in fact, sending a message to all the students in your care that tolerating and accepting homosexuals is not cool. You don't ban something unless there is something wrong with it, no? As if high schoolers need more reasons to be homophobic and to harass gay students or students they suspect might be gay. The Halton Catholic board has just given them another reason to pick on that slightly queer, artsy boy in their midst who now has few places to turn for help.

These incidents merely increase my desire to see the whole god-damned Catholic school system shut down in this province for good! If you refuse to protect the dignity of your most vulnerable students, you are abdicating your responsibilities as educators and you have no business running anything resembling a school system. One secular, public board for all is what Ontario needs!


Here's a Facebook group set up to 'Fight the Halton Catholic School Board's Ban on Gay Straight Alliances.'

And here's an online petition to 'Tell the Halton Catholic District School Board to lift ban on Gay-Straight Alliances.'

No comments: