23 Dec 2011 Continued Call to Action! Bullying Law in Ontario
ARPA Update (Thursday, May 3): Today, the Ontario Legislature voted on Bill 13 at the conclusion of the second reading debates. Bill 13 now passes (with 66 ayes and 33 nays) to the Standing Committee on Social Policy for further review. ARPA will try to present to the committee, together with other concerned citizens, to have Bill 13 amended and so alleviate our concerns with the Bill. Do continue to fill out those petitions – they are important and effective!
Bullying is a serious problem that must be addressed by children and students, by parents and communities, by government and society. In light of recent tragic events in which bullied students have taken their own lives, the government of Ontario has put forward new legislation intending to combat bullying schools. There are two bills being proposed. The governing Liberals have introduced Bill 13. A Progressive Conservative MPP has introduced Bill 14 with the same goal of combatting bullying.
Having examined the proposed amendments in Bill 13, we must conclude that it is a very dangerous and radical piece of legislation for society at large and for Christians in particular. This Bill has already had its second reading and will be assigned to committee study soon.
The problems with Bill 13 are many and include the following:
– Bill 13 fails to list any of the types of bullying that happen at a much higher rate and are most prevelent, i.e., bullying because of physical characteristics, grades, income levels, etc. Check out this EFC report, By the Numbers, on who is actually getting bullied;
– The definition of bullying includes the idea of “real or perceived” power imbalance as a factor in bullying. A type of power imbalance listed in the bill is religion. This idea goes hand in hand with the now popular concept of correcting historic disadvantage (i.e. that the Church has “historically” been persecuting homosexuals for centuries); therefore, any Christian student or teacher engaging in an honest discussion with a homosexual student about sexuality could be seen as using an apparent “power imbalance” to “attack” homosexuality and “bully” the gay student;
– Although the Education Act does not (yet) apply to private Christian schools, private Christian high schools that wish to remain accredited and wish to issue the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) will have to comply with any changes regarding curricula. It will only take an administrative change by a non-elected government bureaucrat in order to make Bill 13 and other diversity programs apply;
– Support for clubs that celebrate homosexuality is required in all Public and Catholic Schools. Section 9 states that “Every board shall support pupils who want to establish and lead… (d) activities or organizations that promote the awareness and understanding of, and respect for, people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, including organizations with the name gay-straight alliance or another name.” Although this section would not apply to private schools immediately, it would apply to Catholic schools and if the government can force Catholics to change their beliefs on sexuality, what is stopping them from forcing private Christian schools from changing their beliefs?
– Finally, the new law would force churches that rent school property to either follow this new agenda or go elsewhere. This is particularly distressing for smaller Christian churches that typically meet in public school spaces to worship.
It is wrong for a government to impose, with the force of law, a social engineering experiment on Ontario’s children. Forcing all schools, Public, Catholic and possibly private Christian high schools, to teach this material will not stop bullying. Schools don’t have to teach the intricacies of every element of difference to combat bullying. They simply need to combat bullying itself.
What can we do? We can continue to lobby the government to amend Bill 13 so that the dangerous elements outlined above are removed. Please act to protect children and to protect religious freedom. You can:
- Learn more at www.TakeBackOurSchools.org
- Call Premier McGuinty at 416-325-1941
- Email Premier McGuinty and your local MPP. You can find their contact information by CLICKING HERE. You can use the sample letters below as a template.
- Mail a letter to your MPP to express your concerns (see sample letters below). Click here for a list to find your MPP’s mailing address.
- Sign a Petition at www.stopcorruptingchildren.com
Please make your voice known. If not you, then who? If not now, when?
SAMPLE LETTER 1
Dear Mr. McGuinty:
I fully support a plan to vigorously combat bullying in schools. However, I am concerned by the inclusion of the proposed legislation of the identification of (and the requirement to teach little children) aberrations in sexual identity and practice. This is a responsibility and privilege that lies with parents and not with the government to teach. This proposed legislation violates parental rights and usurps their role in the shaping of their children’s moral and sexual identity.
Furthermore, God has created only two kinds of human beings, i.e. male and female. Anyone who presents him/herself as a departure from this basic understanding should be met with compassion and empathy, but that lifestyle ought not to be taught in schools as being legitimate manifestations and alternatives to what God has created.
I respectfully request that the relevant sections of Bill 13, e.g. Sections 2, 9, and the part of Section 7(2) that relates to religious organizations renting a school building for worship, be removed from the proposed legislation.
SAMPLE LETTER 2
Dear MPP ____________:
I am in full support of a plan to vigorously counter bullying in schools. However, I have serious concerns regarding the language and implications of Bill 13. I have read the proposed law and am alarmed by the inclusion of the proposed legislation of the identification of (and the requirement to teach little children) aberrations in sexual identity and practice. This is a responsibility and privilege that lies with parents and not with the government to teach. This legislation violates parental rights and usurps their role in the shaping of their moral and sexual identity.
Furthermore, I have read Bill 14 and find that it is much better suited for combatting bullying. It targets bullying in all of its forms without choosing which types of bullying are worthy of greater attention than others and without directing teachers and students to promote a certain ideology. Bill 14 has been thoroughly researched and thought out; it was researched and drafted long before the issue of bullying really started to hit the news and is therefore not based on political opportunism. Finally, Bill 14 is less invasive, leaves religion alone and respects parental rights.
I respectfully request that you give due consideration to my concerns and the concerns of many Ontarians. Please support Bill 14 as a better alternative to Bill 13 and a more effective means of combatting bullying in Ontario schools.
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