Sent by Mail / Fax to 397-3678
January 31, 2000
Dear TDSB Chair / Trustees:
Re: Human Rights Pertaining to Public Schools
In accordance with the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the Ontario Human Rights Code, every human being is guaranteed basic rights that are inviolate and therefore cannot be abridged by any in any way shape or form, be it individuals, institution, agency or the very system that claims to deliver on these rights. This is not just axiomatic; our rights have to be protected.
What is seriously lacking in the GTA is a clear, decisive, conscious and sustained programme of consistent and universal application of human rights. Human rights decorated in the books or documents and the archives serve no benefit to human beings. Thus, the urgency for transparent implementation of the rights of people cannot be postponed any longer.
Moreover, the selective, partial and inconsistent application of human rights is itself a gross violation of human rights. By this approach, some individuals or groups may gain preferential treatment over others and indeed more seriously even at the expense of the fundamental rights of others.
A classic case is the hasty and unabashed adoption by the TDSB of a policy of sexual orientation in defending and promoting homosexual behaviour in the public schools as normal despite strong objection by the faith communities. By its callous actions, instead of contributing to an atmosphere of trust, confidence and a true spirit of community, the Board has created serious divisions in the GTA. Instead of promoting tolerance and understanding the Board's defiant actions breed intolerance, hatred and hostility.
Such a sinister action of the Board is not only irresponsible; it is grossly disrespectful and a mark of contempt for the vast majority of families with children in the system. Since our children are now placed in danger, we call on the TDSB and all the responsible authorities in the strongest terms to implement the human rights codes and policies as they relate to the rights of the faith communities. This would be consistent as much as it would protect our basic rights.
We further insist on our rights that in the presence of any material, curricular and extra-curricular items or social activities which stand in contradiction to our faith, the school has an obligation to first inform us about such issues in clear and unambiguous terms well in advance, obtain parental consent for student participation if any, and provide acceptable educational alternatives to our children.
We hold the school and all those who are responsible for the safety and well being of our children and insist on the protection and defense of our rights in the face of this new danger being imposed upon us. There is urgent need for the school to work in close co-operation and meaningful partnership with parents and children and your contribution and participation is vital to this end.
Tel.: (416) _____________