Yesterday I wrote a post about the Hamilton parent suing the school board for its refusal to notify him when a range of topics objectionable to his beliefs was being covered in the classrooom. His intention was to withdraw his children each time topics such as marriage, environmentalism, evolution, gay people were mentioned, these subjects somehow anathema in his religious world.
Today I came across an article dealing with the consequences of giving parents too much power, as has happened in Alberta, already not the most open-minded member of our confederation:
For over a year now, parents in Alberta have had the right to compel a teacher to defend herself before a human rights tribunal for discussing topics such as gay marriage or aboriginal spirituality in the classroom.
It’s caused quite a chill — reluctance on the part of many teachers to include anything in the curriculum that might upset a parent and provide the basis for a complaint to the HRC.
The piece goes on to discuss the impact the legislation has had on education:
“Teachers started to change how they taught, with English teachers realizing they’d have to send letters home for almost any literature they studied. The quality of English education started to fall — and has continued to fall in the two years since (the legislation was passed),” [former English department head Dale] Wallace writes in a recent issue of Alberta Views Magazine.
Wallace asserts that it’s almost impossible to teach high-school English literature that doesn’t have references to sex, homosexuality or religion. Canterbury Tales has a religious theme; The Merchant of Venice includes homosexuality; Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale has sexual content as does Timothy Findley’s The Wars.
“As a result, challenging novels such as 1984 are replaced with safer ones, like Pride and Prejudice ... provocative, thoughtful films such as Apocalypse Now are replaced by films with different themes altogether, like Cast Away,” Wallace says.
I hope you will check out the entire brief article to learn of the consequences that can ensue when the intolerant are given power.