A Presentation on the TDSB's Draft Human Rights Policy and Procedures
TO: The TDSB and public audience, at 155 College Street, Toronto, [Cafeteria]
BY: Aris Metaxakis, TDSB high school teacher
Date: January 27/2000
AREAS OF CONCERN
The TDSB Draft human Rights Policy and Procedures
The Charter Rights, to which the TDSB refers to "as the supreme law of Canada" (Draft Human Rights Policy, p. 4), is, by the Charter's own recognition, not the sole guardian of the rule law; it recognizes both the reality and rule of God, by this preface to its contents:
"Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God [italics mine] and the rule of law."
Although we are becoming a more culturally diverse nation, it is fair and accurate to say we have a Christian heritage to thank for the blessing and stability of Canada. It is no coincidence then, that the Education Act of Ontario instructs educators "to inculcate by precept and example respect for religion and the principles of Judaeo-Christian morality and the highest regard for truth, justice, loyalty…and all other virtues;"(italics mine)(Sec. 235. 1c)
It likewise characterizes as hateful other individuals and Christian groups who hold such convictions, including Muslims, Jews and other religious minorities. To quote Peter Stockland, of the Calgary Herald, "…Conservations in all the world major faiths are now accustomed, …to having truth they hold sacred decried as hatred when they conflict with 20th Century amorality". (P. Stockland, Calgary Herald, Dec. 11/98
In light of the Charter declaration on the 'supremacy of God' and the Education Act's directive to educators to uphold Judaeo-Christian values, the Board has no legal and moral authority to impose such an inherently immoral position which it falsely calls "our values" (p.5). The TDSB needs to show respect for 'our Christian heritage and values'.
The Board needs to give more thought to the fragmenting effect the new Human Rights Policy likely will have on public education. The valiant efforts of the Board and educators across this province to stay the tide of privatization of education will be largely in vain, as concerned parents will place their children in private schools. Also, many good and conscientious educators and staff, in my view, will leave. Does the Board want this?
Some thoughts on the Word "Hate"
The TDSB needs to rethink what it means by "hatred". Having a different vies is not hatred. It can even be argued that a good, ethical and reasonable point of view or belief can be communicated in a hateful manner but that does make the view itself hateful.
Additionally, the TDSB needs to be more cautious not to foster an environment where people will hide or feel they can not express their views out of fear they will be misunderstood. For example the belief that men and women should ideally have different roles in marriage is considered by some feminists to be sexist. I would find it highly offensive to have such a conviction labeled as hateful. According to Alan Borovay, of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, "Intellectual freedom cannot be viable if campus members [or any school staff or students] are impelled to look over their shoulders for engaging in legitimate debate and discussion."
The Board needs to: