The Toronto District School Board saw 34,762 absences on the first day of the campaign, May 4, more than double the 14,191 absences the board experienced the week before.
Thousands of fed-up parents took matters went on “strike.”
May 4-11, keeping their
children home from school to protest the imposition of a new sex-ed curriculum in Ontario.
The Toronto District School Board saw 34,762 absences on the first day of the campaign, May 4, more than double the 14,191 absences the board experienced the week before. The precise number of students who were out because of the parents strike was not known. Some parents sent notices to their schools alerting administrators as to the reason their children would be absent.
Some schools with primarily Muslim populations, such as Toronto’s Thorncliffe Park Public School, had almost 90% of the school away.
On the second day of the strike TDSB absences were up 143% over the prior week.
In the Peel public board about 10% of all elementary students were not at school, an increase of 14.5% over the week before. Numbers were even higher in the Windsor public board, where elementary
student absences were 16 % higher than the week before (3,767 of 23,979 students).
In the Windsor Catholic board a smaller number of students–270–were absent. A Catholic parent in the St. Clair Catholic board explained her reasons for keeping her children at home:
Andrea Figueiredo, says the government has overstepped its bounds by forcing views into schools that parents disagree with. Says Figueiredo,
“I don’t agree with what the government is essentially forcing our children to learn.”
The program, in her opinion, is undercutting the parents’ authority to decide how to teach their children about sex:
Windsor parent Salah Alnassiri, also said he thinks the government is taking on a role that should be left to parents:
His ten-year-old son Ali Anazi said some of the content of the new curriculum made him feel uncomfortable.
“I think the new curriculum is being introduced when we’re way too young,” said Anazi. “We’re still young kids. I want to be healthy. I just don’t want to learn some of this at this age.”
Brampton, Windsor, and Toronto also had protests at local elementary schools, with a small demonstration at Queen’s Park on Monday.
Media coverage in many outlets like the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star appeared to cast the “anti” side as especially prevalent in immigrant communities, especially among Muslims. Heather Mallick offered an extraordinarily racist piece in the Star.
In addition to Heather Mallick’s usual suspects–“the religious right”–a new spectre appears: new Canadians, whose ignorance appears to be more curable.
“In Toronto’s sad enclaves-where some schools hold Muslim prayers led by teenage boys while the girls are herded to the back-it was massive but that is another larger problem. New Canadians need welcoming.”
Her animosity toward conservative parents is chilling:
The Ontario parents who took their young children out of school Monday in a protest over a new sex education curriculum are performing an important social function: providing a home from which one eventually flees with delight and a raw need for independence.
Parents are awful. This is their role in life, to embarrass their offspring. The approximately 1,000 parents who dragged their small children to a demonstration at Queen’s Park and forced them to hold up signs demanding shelter from knowledge of their own nudity will be Exhibit A in the memoirs of 2045: Coastal Shelf: How My Mother F—ed Me Up; I’m Not With Them: Parental Alienation Syndrome Works Both Ways. They write themselves.
As is her final wretched injunction to the proto-rebels: “Now get back in class and plot your escape from your well-meaning, loving pitiful parents.”
Together, we can make a difference!
Teresa Pierre, PhD, President
Parents as First Educators (PAFE)