End Gender-Segregation at Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board

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Our daughter attends a public elementary school in the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board. We were dismayed when her school invited a local church group to administer gender-segregated programming in its library. Our daughter was recruited in her classroom to attend the “Her” group, which promises to teach girls to “stand up for themselves and the truth” by doing “arts and crafts” and “nail painting”.

Upon raising concerns about the gendered and religious nature of this curriculum, we were told that it is KPR's routine practice to offer church-run, gender-segregated programs at its schools. Our principal explained that girls need a protected space to feel safe, because they are naturally more anxious than boys.


  • We object to imposing gender ideologies in a top-down fashion while falsely labelling them as empowerment. It is a big leap to call a segregated girls’ group focused on “nail painting” and “arts and crafts” empowering. This is segregation passing itself off as empowerment, all the while promoting biological determinist arguments to justify gender-based programming.
  • Protected girls' groups assume that boys are inherently dangerous and girls are inherently in need of protection. There are no winners in this scenario. Why not have an inclusive group promoting non-violence? In a world where school shootings are both commonplace and heavily tied to ideas of masculinity, we believe the board needs to be more attentive to the gendered messages being sent to both girls and boys.
  • Segregating girls to increase their safety amounts to victim-blaming. When addressing the needs of marginalized groups, schools almost always rely on inclusion not exclusion. For example, schools have rainbow coalitions not lgbtq groups, they have the amigos program, not Intellectually-Disabled groups, the list goes on. We submit that gender should be no different. We call for an end to approaches that create division between people.