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Dombrowsky won't force GSAs on Catholic schools

Dombrowsky won't force GSAs on Catholic schools

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Education minister endorses 'supports' for gay students
Wedged between high school students and Egale Canada donors, Ontario Minister of Education Leona Dombrowsky took in a breakfast to mark the International Day Against Homophobia.
 
The early-morning event, organized by Egale, was a fundraiser for My GSA, a program that supports students who are part of gay-straight alliances or who want to start one.
 
Dombrowsky has been dodging questions about GSAs in Ontario’s publicly funded Catholic school system since news broke that the Halton Catholic District School Board had banned them. Since then, trustees have partially lifted the ban, but students are still forbidden from calling their clubs gay-straight alliances.
 
“What’s important is that the school board ensure that there is a group that will support the needs of those students,” says Dombrowsky in an interview with Xtra at the event. “It’s important that the school community decide what they want.”
 
But Dombrowsky remains evasive about whether students at St Joseph’s Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga should be allowed to have a club with the word gay in its title.
 
“We’ve said, ‘Every student deserves to be supported,’ not ‘It must be done in this way.’ But we’ve made it very clear that it’s not an option, that it must be in our schools,” she says.
 
After Dombrowsky addressed the breakfast, James Ryan, president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA), spoke. In a tacit rebuke of Dombrowsky, Ryan did not mince words.
 
“The members that I represent are absolutely committed to all our students, including gay, lesbian, bi and trans students,” he said. “My association and our members have no problem with gay-straight alliances.”
 
Other union leaders piled on. Sid Ryan, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, thanked OECTA for taking a stand on the issue of Catholic GSAs.
 
“I want to acknowledge the Catholic teachers. It’s really brave of them to get behind gay-straight alliances,” he said.
 
Fred Hahn, the openly gay president of CUPE Ontario, a major financial backer of Egale’s GSA work, added that non-teaching staff (secretaries and maintence personnel) at high schools also support GSAs.
 
The event featured Jordan Todosey, who plays trans high schooler Adam Torres on Degrassi: The Next Generation, and Mike Grassi, one of the show’s writers.
 
The audience was a mix of students, teachers and Egale donors. At the head tables were a number of politicians, including Dombrowsky, Liberal MPP Yasir Naqvi, former health minister George Smitherman, and city councillors Janet Davis, Shelley Carroll and Kristyn Wong-Tam. Halton Catholic trustee Paul Marai was also on hand.
 
Click here for a full transcript of the interview between Xtra's Marcus McCann and Dombrowsky.


 

Comments

The Premier isn't worried about us
The Premier isn't worried about the concerns of the LGBT community on the GSA issue. He knows that gays can only make a difference in one riding in the province (Toronto Centre) and that Liberal Glen Murray will be re-elected in Toronto Centre. Toronto Centre is considered a safe Liberal seat.
SURPRISE !!!!!!
SO THE PREMIER IS A CATHOLIC WHOSE WIFE TEACHES IN A CATHOLIC SCHOOL- THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION IS A FORMER CATHOLIC SCHOOL BOARD CHAIR - AND DOESNT BELIEVE IN SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE - AND YOU WONDER WHY THERE HASNT BEEN ANY REAL ACTION ON THIS ISSUE !!!
Disheartening
I'm very disheartened to read the thoughts of our education minister. Although I should have expected it, I didn't think she would actually agree with the GSA ban. Her enabling of this prejudice is a black mark against this government and this province, and will affect the well-being of the queer students under her watch. For shame.
stop religious indoctrination
I saw that the church considers gay people as intrinsically disordered, other wise known as crazy. Isn't the crazyness believing in their fairy in the sky, born of a virgin, which if it could occur, would always be a female anyway. If anything the two crazy things are giving the taxpayers money to encourage hatred and ignorance in religiious indoctrination. Western Europe has all but killed off its connection to the pedophiliac church. When is CAnada going to do the same.
Dalton Doolittle
Dalton is courting the backward Catholic rural vote this October. He'd say that Evolution was false if that got him votes. He still thinks the Titanic Liberal party won't sink. He's also running around like crazy trying to get campaign donations that seem to have dried up. Remember to vote NDP everyone. Thanks for throwing Gays under the bus again Mr. Premier.
After all the hubbub, the # of GSAs is now up to 0
Exactly zero. Just like 1 year ago, just like 100 years ago. Just like a year from now. Since January, the Catholic Boards and the Ministry of Ed'n (and even Egale) have been hemming and hawing on whether its gay students ought to be treated like human beings or not. It's unbelievable that we're even forced to have this conversation in the 21st century. Still more unbelievable is that even the possibility of having a gay TEACHER in one of these publicly funded schools cannot even be discussed. The message is clear: in the fully publicly funded, 27 billion dollar Catholic school system, gays MUST stay in the closet. And the Minster of Education couldn't care less. It's time for a change.
Tiny correction
The line 'publicly funded schools cannot use the word gay in their title' should read, 'publicly funded schools cannot use the word gay in the name of a club'. By the way, there's a conference this Saturday on this topic. Hope to see you there. www.OneSSN.org
Move over, Leona. Let the Bishops take over
We're living in Canada, in the year 2011. We pat ourselves on the back for our international reputation for being so enlightened when it comes to civil rights. Yet here in Ontario, one-third of our publicly funded school system has a policy on gay students and teachers that dates back to medieval Catholic Spain. And the "Liberal" Minister of Ed'n is completely fine with it. How very Twilight Zone. Why even bother with the pretense of having a Minister of Ed? Why not just let the Catholic Church appoint a Bishop? The Bishops already control curriculum and hiring & firing policy. They also decide how many busloads of Catholic school students they want on Parliament Hill for the "March for Life" gig (to be transported and housed at public expense, mind you). They also decided that publicly funded schools cannot use the word "gay" in their title. And when they take flak for it, they point to the politicians and say, "They're in control!" And when the politicians take flak, they say, "The Bishops made us do it!" Cowards, one and all. One last thought: Glen Murray is spineless, just like every other Liberal. The award for almost-has-a-backbone goes to Rosario Marchese (but certainly not Andrea Horwath). And the Green Party.
Catholic schools should not be publicly funded
Catholic schools should not be publicly funded -- then we wouldn't even be having this discussion. All publicly funded schools would then be truly public (admitting and hiring anyone -- including non-Catholics) and unafraid of accepting gay kids for who they are.
What's important
Contrary to Dombrowsky's blather, what's important is that it is possible for students to have GSAs if they want them, and that it is possible to use the word "gay" in the name if they want to. The Memorandum isn't just about some generic "support". It clearly says GSA. What's also important is to eliminate wasteful public funding for a duplicate school system that brazenly discriminates on the bases of religion and sexual orientation. Last, it's important to replace the current Ontario government with another team. Even if the next government achieves nothing different, failure of the current crew on something as basic as this must not be rewarded with re-election. I must close by saying I'm impressed by James Ryan and OECTA. This is what leadership and actually caring for students is about.

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