A Muskoka District councillor has taken aim at the provincial government policy regarding parental knowledge of children’s pronouns while at school.
During Monday’s District council meeting, councillor Scott Morrison spoke out against the new provincial policy stating that the policy was bad for the community and that it would cause harm to kids. The comments come in response to Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce’s comments that parents must be informed if a child chooses to change their pronoun while at school. Lecce’s comments followed New Brunswick and Saskatchewan in setting policies mandating that teachers must inform parents if a child chooses to change their pronouns.
Morrison, who stated he was supported by Councillor Brenda Rhodes, commented that children who are coming out must be able to choose how they do so. He stated that if a child’s parents are not aware already there is likely a reason.
“If their parents aren’t aware already there’s a reason that is because it’s not safe for their parents to know,” Morrison said.
Morrison highlighted discussions he has had with James Hunt, the former area director for Youth for Christ in Huntsville. He stated that there are homeless people in the Huntsville area today who are homeless due to telling their parents who they were and wanted to be.
“It’s dangerous. It’s going to hurt our children, our community,” Morrison said.
The statements by Lecce follow legislation in New Brunswick and Saskatchewan that establishes a teacher must inform parents if a child changes their identity at school. While the Ontario legislature has yet to pass legislation on the issue, Morrison believes that it could come to that point.
“And it starts off as a couple of words and then snowballs and snowballs until it becomes legislation,” Morrison said.
Morrison said that he plans to bring the issue forward at the District idea group in the hope of developing a letter to send to the provincial government expressing the district’s Displeasure with the new policy.
“This isn’t hyperbole, it’s factual that children will die if they’re if this is being forced upon them,” Morrison said.
Morrison stated that he has had conversations with a concerned teacher who claims that it takes months to develop trust with students and to ensure that the classroom is a safe place. According to Morrison the teacher was worried that having to out a child to their parents could negate all the positive work towards making kids feel safe while at school. He also cited the negative response by various stakeholders to the new policy.
“It’s not something that the principals want. It’s not something that the admin wants is certainly not something that the students want,” Morrison said.
Morrison encouraged members of council to do research for themselves and to formulate their own opinions on the issue. He plans to bring the issue forward at the idea group for discussion later this month.
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