In February, the public school board in Calgary, Alberta, jumped on what has become a Canada-wide bandwagon and approved an "Action Plan" that called for city schools to eliminate harassment against homosexual pupils. Two days after its approval the plan claimed its first victim, "Barry M.," a 10th-grade student at Calgary's Sir Winston Churchill High School. Just for fun, Barry drew an anti-homosexuality strip featuring a homosexual character with a vulgar name and sold copies to his friends. Even though Barry never sold copies of his strip on school grounds, when a vice principal got wind of what he was doing, he was suspended. When Barry's parents objected, the principal expelled him permanently.
Barry attends another high school now, but the 16-year-old believes he was the victim of reverse prejudice. Three years ago he was threatened at school by an older student who held a knife to his throat. His attacker got two weeks' suspension. "I guess the school board believes actual violence is less important than a drawing that offends homosexuals," he concludes.
Barry's suspicion that homosexuals have become untouchable is right on target. Because its culture wars have not resulted in the kind of mayhem accompanying America's social upheavals, Canada has gained an unearned reputation as a nation of conservatives. But nowhere is that reputation less deserved than in the nation's schools. With the protection of the provincial governments, larger city school systems have developed plans for indoctrinating students against "homophobia," a form of "racism" that Canadian school boards insist is widespread and destructive.
The push to promote homosexuality in the public schools began in Ontario five years ago when the Toronto Board of Education published a "resource guide" called "Sexual Orientation: Homosexuality, Lesbianism, and Homophobia." It is now a part of the board's official curriculum even though psychiatrist Joseph Berger, a member of the Toronto board's advisory committee, condemned it as blatant homosexual propaganda filled with "unacceptable prejudice." Toronto school administrators have bought into homosexual myths, including the claim that homosexuals drop out of school, abuse drugs, and commit suicide at rates three times higher than average because they are victims of "homophobia."
But despite their claims, Toronto school officials are unable to support their assertions. Steve Solomon, a homosexual social worker assigned to the Human Sexuality Project of the Toronto Board's Student Support Services division, argues that 10 percent of his school population is homosexual. But out of the nearly 90,000 elementary and high school students in Toronto, Mr. Solomon's counseling load averages not some sizeable portion of [his] estimated 9,000 homosexual students, but, by his own admission, "between 15 and 20 students." Many of these are recruits gathered out of the 200 classroom presentations Mr. Solomon makes each year. But even after his evangelistic efforts, his small group of counselees includes imports from towns outside Toronto.
Other provinces are just as ready as Ontario to succor homosexual students. In Saskatchewan, the government spends $77,000 annually to provide and publicize a 1-800-588-FACT telephone line for the province's youth, encouraging them to call for anonymous and confidential conversations on any sexual topic. Test calls by pro-family activists revealed that the counselors were willing to discuss the most perverted forms of homosexual practices with their counselees. Counselors spoke of the "benefits" of oral sex, often bringing up the subject themselves. The counselors relied on the discredited notion that condom use equaled "safe sex." In one case, after learning that the caller was a 14-year-old boy, the female counselor still offered to refer him to a homosexual group in Regina, Sask.
In March, the homosexual agenda was advanced again when the British Columbia Teachers' Federation endorsed a resolution to "develop recommendations and strategies for achieving the elimination of homophobia and heterosexism in the public school system." The resolution passed, in part because it was billed as a program limited to supplying teachers with resource material. But B.C. Education Minister Paul Ramsey immediately used it as a mandate to call for curriculum changes. Now it appears destined to influence every health science curriculum from high school to kindergarten.
Kari Simpson, mother of four and president of the Langley, B.C.-based Citizen's Research Institute, says the government's quick adoption of the resolution is having an unlooked-for effect. In B.C., enrollment in private schools was already rising three times faster than public schools. "But now," Mrs. Simpson reports, "more parents are withdrawing their children." CRI is distributing a "Declaration of Family Rights," a legal document parents can use to forbid school systems to expose their children to any discussion portraying homosexual activities as "normal." Over 6,000 copies of the declaration have been requested. Mrs. Simpson says CRI's mandate is to expose evil, adding, "Change is up to God."
Mr. Parker is a writer for Canada's Alberta Report.