Secular, Inclusive Education

Winnipeg Free Press, September 14, 2012 | Go to article overview

Secular, Inclusive Education


The legal action launched against the provincial government by a Hamilton father who objects to provincial equity and anti-bullying policy goes beyond being distasteful and impractical. It's downright sinister.

Steve Tourloukis wants the public school board to warn him whenever educators are planning to talk about family, marriage or human sexuality. He is concerned that his children's exposure to those subjects will conflict with his family's "sincerely held religious beliefs." He justifies his position by saying: "My children are my own. I own them. They don't belong to the school board." (Yes, he actually said he owns his children.)

The group supporting him is called the Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund. It is against gay-straight alliances in public schools and doesn't want works by gay authors to be included in public curriculum. To be fair, it's not clear to what extent Tourloukis shares those offensive views. He wants his children to be taught issues of family, marriage and human sexuality "from a Christian perspective."

He could certainly accomplish that by moving his kids into a Christian school that shares his values. He has dismissed that idea, saying that since he pays his taxes his personal preference should trump provincial education policy. Really? The system should change to meet the desires of a microscopic minority?

For Tourloukis and his supporters, the issue appears limited to gay people and lifestyles. …

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