Background: Consultation on Code of Conduct for Ottawa Catholic School Board

Catholic educational rights in Ottawa are being threatened because the local Catholic School Board has bowed to a request from the Province to update its Code of Conduct to include the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression".

The request comes from a Ministry of Education document called PPM 128.  PPM 128 states that school board Codes of Conduct should be consistent with the Provincial Code of Conduct, which contains those terms. 

The trustees have the right to examine this memorandum to decide how it should look for their school board.

The policy is currently undergoing a community consultation in your board.  Please contact the board to request them to remove the objectionable terms “gender identity” and “gender expression” from their school policies. 

The deadline for input is October 22, 2019.

Problems with allowing the terms:

  • Religion teachers may become reluctant to clearly state the church’s teachings on many issues. How could a teacher not be worried about a student complaint for teaching the church’s teaching on transgenderism?  A student could then say that the class content went against his or her sense of fair treatment of the transgendered.
  • It would also make it possible for the Board to be forced to change its denominational hiring practices and include teachers who openly model a “marital status” explicitly prohibited by the Gospels.
  • Right now the Code of Conduct is used in public boards to threaten employees who express Christian beliefs about marriage. It is said that those opinions may make people feel “unsafe.” Between students and teachers being afraid to speak Catholic teachings in Catholic schools, there could end up being such a chill on free speech that you will no longer recognize them to be Catholic schools.
  • Boards may become vulnerable to Ontario Human Rights challenges such as the Buffone complaint currently underway.

What your Code says:

There are two policies up for review.  5a of the Administrative Procedures of the Safe, Inclusive and Accepting Schools Code of Conduct – General currently says:

Consistent with a whole-school approach, all school members and third-party users of school facilities will adhere to the following standards of behaviour:

  • Respect and treat others, regardless of, for example, size, strength, age, intelligence, peer group power, economic status, social status, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, family circumstances, gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, disability or the receipt of special education.

The other policy under consideration which has added the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression” is 2i of the Safe, Inclusive and Accepting Schools Code of Conduct –Student Expulsion.

Alternative Faith-Based Language Suggestion:

Pope Francis himself compared gender theory to “the educational policies of Hitler” and declared “Gender ideology is demonic!” 

We suggest you recommend alternative language be substituted in 5a of the General policy.  This language complies with PPM 128 and the Human Rights Code.

Consistent with a whole-school approach, all school members and third-party users of school facilities will adhere to the following standards of behaviour:

  • Value and respect the teachings of the Catholic Church.
  • Respect and treat others fairly, as children of God, created in the image and likeness of God, of infinite dignity and worth.

Please request removing the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression” from 2i of the Student Expulsion policy.

Participate in the community consultation:

Please write an email to your board.  As per board instructions, you must include your name, phone number, email address, residential address, relationship with the OCSB, and the name of the policy under review.  If you do not have children or grandchildren in the board, you can just identify yourself as an Ottawa Catholic taxpayer.

Email Thomas D’Amico at [email protected], and cc [email protected] and your trustee.

It is vital to loop your trustee in because it is trustees who vote on the policies.  If you do not know who your trustee is, you can use the school locator tool to find out. Put in your home address and find your home school, and then click the school’s website.  Locate your trustee in the school’s Contact Information.  Click the link on the trustee name and it will take you to the board’s list of trustees, where you can find his or her email.

The deadline is October 22, 2018.

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  • Teresa Pierre
    published this page 2019-10-09 23:12:36 -0400