Stock letter asks school to warn when sensitive subjects arise - thestar.com

Stock letter asks school to warn when sensitive subjects arise - thestar.com
A number of conservative Christian and Muslim parents — unusual political bedfellows — suddenly are asking schools across the GTA to notify them when their child’s class will discuss topics ranging from homosexuality and birth control to wizardry, evolution and “environmental worship,” so they can withhold their child from classes that contradict their religious beliefs.
They are giving schools the same five-page “Traditional Values Letter” used by a Greek Orthodox father who has sued the Hamilton school board for refusing to warn him when his children’s teachers plan to talk about family, marriage or human sexuality. Hamilton dentist Dr. Steve Tourloukis said Monday he only wants those issues taught to his Grade 1 daughter and Grade 4 son “from a Christian perspective.”
“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,” said Tourloukis, who is supported by a group called the Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund. “We know other denominations like Jehovah’s Witnesses and Muslims are excused for certain activities. Does our being Christian disqualify us from equitable treatment?”....
“We do agree with many of the goals of conservation, however these principles are often presented from a humanistic world view (for the benefit of man) or a naturalistic world view (deifying the earth) which is in conflict with our teachings,” notes the letter. “Conservation would be more successful for our children if connected to their understanding of being respectful of their Creator’s creation.”...
The letter was penned by PEACE (Public Education Advocates for Christian Equity) Hamilton, a Christian parent group led by Phil Lees, also head of Ontario’s Family Coalition Party. PEACE Hamilton is helping to raise an estimated $65,000 for Tourloukis’ lawsuit, said Lees, and has posted a blank copy of the Traditional Values Letter for parents to download from its website. Parents simply insert the name of their faith, into the same letter.
“If we’re really a public education system, we need to be pluralistic and embrace values that go beyond the humanistic approach of Ontario schools that’s based on the belief there is no spiritual being,” said Lees. The former teacher has visited several Muslim parent groups to offer tips on how to try to sidestep school equity policy, including the Seerah School group in Toronto’s largely Muslim Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood.