Alberta Puts The Chill On Gay Classroom Topics
The Alberta legislature has passed a bill that requires teachers to receive parental permission before discussing or acknowledging topics of sexual orientation in the curriculum, or else face being brought before the Human Rights Commission for violating parental rights.
This means, very soon, teachers will be at risk of being brought before a tribunal if they acknowledge gay issues without first taking care to selectively evacuate students from the classroom. Not only does this send a terrible message to gay students—that topics about their lives pose such a profound hazard that their classmates’ attendance must be filtered based on privilege—but it enables and reinforces schoolyard bullying through that same knowledge.
So how did such a controversial bill pass so effortlessly? The wordsmithing employed by its supporters offers some clues. In the comments section of a National Post article I linked to on Friday, a supporter of the bill wrote: “The core issue here is who has the right to shape the minds of children, individuals or the State.” This simplification is a real eye-opener. Are those the only two options that supporters see? What about, say, the students being able to shape their own minds?
By the time students are old enough to be introduced to sexual education in the curriculum, they are citizens of their own right. For a guardian to forcibly bar a student from hearing information and viewpoints other than their own is not only narrow-minded, but irresponsible. Astonishingly, though, it seems bill proponents don’t view students as inquisitive minds that are capable of forming their own views; rather, they are seen as a form of human property for whom it is the exclusive right of the guardian to indoctrinate as they see fit. It is no wonder, then, that these parents see open classroom discussions and the analysis of opposing viewpoints as an affront to their plan—a way to undo the views they wish to force into their child, unchallenged via the careful censorship of information.
In this light, it actually begins to make sense that, since some parents wish to coercively inbue uncontested beliefs into their child, they project that same behaviour onto the state. Anti-bullying programs and lessons that include acknowledgement of gay persons, they think, must be part of some agenda to brainwash and take control of the younger generation. Why, I bet they even think my subliminal messages and short-wave thought injection gun are being used for more than just corporate advertising.
Still, what a sad day for education and enlightenment in Alberta.