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Stock letter asks school to warn when sensitive subjects arise -

Stock letter asks school to warn when sensitive subjects arise -

Published on Monday September 10, 2012

BERNARD WEIL/TORONTO STAR Steve Tourloukis talks to the media at Queen's Park to announce legal proceedings he is taking against the Hamilton Wentworth Board of Education, seeking a court order that he be given advance notice of any material, class or session that conflicts with his religious beliefs, and is asking the board to respect his religious beliefs on issues such as marriage, family and sexuality.
Louise Brown
Education Reporter
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?”
As well as being notified about lessons on sex education, sexual orientation and evolution, the form letter, available on some Christian and Muslim parent websites, also lets parents ask for a warning if a teacher plans to “place environmental concerns above the value of our Muslim (or Christian) principles and human life.”
“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.”

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