Schools Shouldn't Require Classes That Contradict Kids' Religious Beliefs

Rant 84

crossFinally Christians and Muslims have something to agree on: They don’t want public school teachers teaching their children on matters that go against the teachings of their respective religions -- topics ranging from homosexuality and birth control to evolution and global warming.

In Ontario, Canada, newly passed Bill 13 promotes diversity and acceptance in an attempt to curb bullying. Punishing bullies used to be sufficient, but apparently not anymore. Now our kids need to be taught about sex -- both homosexual and heterosexual -- to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings. 

Here’s a concept: Why not teach kids to respect all people, regardless of their skin color, gender, religion, or parental status? Why all of a sudden do kids need to be taught about sexuality, environmentalism, and religion (but not Christianity! Never Christianity) in order to play nice?

Back to Ontario and this Bill 13. Many parents have complained about the new policy, and have asked that they be notified when the controversial subjects will be taught in class, so that they may exempt their children from those sessions.

One parent, Steve Tourloukis, says:

I’m not an extremist, but I must ensure that my children abstain from certain activities that may include lessons which promote views contrary to our faith.

Tourloukis is suing the Hamilton school board for their refusal to communicate with him before his elementary aged son and daughter were taught in the classroom about “family, marriage, and human sexuality.” He is supported by the Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund.

Parents absolutely should have a right to notification and an option to withdraw their children from controversial teaching. Teachers’ rights to teach do not supersede parents’ rights to parent, and their wishes should be respected. After all, we’re the ones that are raising them -- from diapers to graduation caps; it’s parents that do the heavy lifting. When they turn 18 and go out into the world, they can complain to their therapists that mom and dad wouldn’t let them stay in class to hear how fish are more important than people, or how lesbians do it.

The state does not know how to raise our children better than we do, and the implication that they do is insulting. Kids don’t have to be taught about homosexuality in order to be nice to the kid with two mommies or two daddies. Kids rarely care about that stuff anyway. Let parents decide how much they want to tell their kids about alternative lifestyle choices.

While they’re at it, they should teach their kids to be kind to everyone, no matter what their families look like.


Image via Glen's Pics/Flickr

discrimination, education, environment, in the news, law, marriage equality, politics, religion


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marabie marabie

Well if you're the one raising your child then you should be damn well educating them about things that go against your beliefs so your little brats don't bully those that are different than them.

fleur... fleurdelys3110

I understand where you're coming from Jenny, but as marabie points out, there are inherent contradictions to your argument. How can you teach your child to respect those who are different if you refuse to teach them how they are different? You can't get one without the other. If you're that opposed to your child learning what life is like outside your religious box, then send them to a private religiously affiliated school. That's what they're there for. In the mean time, public schools shoud continue to serve those who want to know what the real world is like and have no interest in being sheltered from reality.

fleur... fleurdelys3110

Also, I have a huge problem with this sentence, "Now our kids need to be taught about sex -- both homosexual and heterosexual -- to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings." By not acknowledging that there may be some students who are different, isn't that hurting THEIR feelings by shaming them and making them think their differences are unacceptable by not talking about them? Kids need to know that IT'S OKAY to be different. In order to know that, discussion needs to be faciliated. Why should kids whose mommies are sheltering them get "their feelings" protected (who knows if it's even their feelings, it's most likely the parents'!) while the kids who are different get THEIR feelings hurt? It makes no sense.

Lesli... Leslie_ABS

Wow, so global warming is environmentalism! Sorry lady, it's called science, you know the stuff that brings you the medicines that you take to treat your boo-boos. Again, birth control and human sexuality, are facts of life. To be taught about something does not mean that your child is being told to behave one way or another, he or she is being EDUCATED! Evolution= science! Global warming=science. They can't teach all worldviews, creation stories, myths and legends, so isn't it great that schools teach facts! Homosexuality is a fact. Sexuality is a fact. Birth control and how it functions in combination with our health (for treatments) and for family planning= fact. 

What I don't get is that if people's worldviews and religions are so prohibitive about what can be taught to their children, then perhaps it's because there aren't good enough arguments for that religion or worldview. Otherwise, these people would not feel threatened by their children being taught facts and science at school. Schools obligations are to educate, as a parent, your job is to interpret and discuss with your child. Your job is to influence them everyday. 

Jessy Roos

I grew up in the Hamilton area and was educated in the public school system in Ontario. I can tell you that the education I received was excellent and without religious influence. When I took sex education, there was never a question of opting out, because it's necessary medical and scientific information, regardless of a parent's religious values. I will reiterate was Marabie said: how can we teach our children to be loving and accepting of people who are different if we will not educate them about our differences? Knowledge is power and it leaves little room for ignorance. The public school system has a responsibility to provide education free from religious or political influence of any kind. That includes the responsibility to teach about such "controversial topics" as homosexuality, world religions, climate change and others. Just because you don't like it, doesn't mean it isn't fact.

Stace... StaceyBoBacey19

I agree with fleur. You can't avoid teaching topics because somebody might become offended. What would be left?

wamom223 wamom223

I would just want to know what my children would be taught before the lesson took place.  I think when you have children you should expect that sooner or later your children will be exposed to something that you will need to talk to them about.  My parents are divorced, so I grew up with four very different views of the world and I think it taught me to think for myself.  All of the topics you listed are bound to come up sooner or later and if you don't want society to be the first impression on your child then you should talk to them first.  I think we also need to understand that as we try to fight this bullying problem and teach our children to be more excepting we will make mistakes along the way.  

Chrissy Potter Shah

The comments you get, Jenny...amazing.  Very tolerant of differing views, aren't they.  It's inspirational.  


bills... billsfan1104

Marabie, you could of made your point without calling her kids Little Brats

NatAndCo NatAndCo

1. I would have to agree to an extent that parents should be able to remove their kids from class if they don't want them to take part in a certain lesson DEPENDING on the child's age. Do i want an elementary school age child, i.e. 6-10 in many places, being taught about sexuality by some stranger? Nope. I would much prefer to lead that conversation.

2. However... At a certain age it becomes a matter giving them information that is in the world today. In high school, how can toy teach about modern civil rights movements if they aren't told about homosexuality. How can you really teach about some current/past events without teaching about differences in religions? Its the teachers job to provide information to their students. Its the kids and the parents job to help them process it in a way that fits their lives.

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