Ontario's Ministry of Education promotes the idea of Gay-Straight Alliances in Canadian schools. The Ministry encourages GSAs as a tool to fight homophobia. It also recognizes the impact that a GSA can have in building bridges between all students. And yet, despite this, one Catholic School Board just isn't buying it. Welcome to Halton Region!
The Halton Catholic District School Board (HCDSB) has previously banned GSAs in their schools. Several board members believe they are harmful, with board members even comparing gay-straight alliances to Nazi groups or sex clubs.
According to its website, the school board serves 29,000 students in a variety of suburbs - Milton, Halton Hills, Burlington, Oakville. And none of those students are taught tolerance.
Indeed, a new policy by the Halton Catholic District School Board only allows for student groups to form to discuss broad "equity" principles, and these groups cannot have the word "gay" in their title. The policy has led one school board member to say: "I’m really worried we went from revoking a ban on GSAs to banning the word 'gay.'"
Send the Halton Catholic District School Board a message that LGBT students deserve a policy that allows them to form gay-straight alliances, and a policy that recognizes their existence.
- Director of Education, HCDSB
Alice Anne LeMay
John Mark Rowe
I am writing to ask you to please consider allowing students in your district to form groups known as Gay-Straight Alliances. I'm aware that Halton has changed their policy from a blanket ban on GSAs, to a policy that now allows students to form clubs to discuss "equity" issues. But your district still has a ban on the word "gay" when it comes to student groups, and that's entirely unacceptable.
As you are likely aware, the Ministry of Education promotes Gay-Straight Alliances as effective tools in eradicated homophobia and building connections between all students. The province of Ontario is committed to educating the public and supporting all youth, including those that are not heterosexual. It is a shame that you are showing your students that some are less worthy based on something that is an ingrained trait. Your policy is homophobic, offensive and un-Canadian.
Take a stance on anti-gay bullying and equality for all the students you serve.
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