Thursday, June 30, 2011

Another reason for Christian parents to withdraw their children from the public school system

As reported by Andrea Sands of the Edmonton Journal on June 13, 2011:

A Christian program that operates inside seven public schools is warning parents a new school-board policy to make schools more welcoming for sexual minorities "could have a significant, negative impact" on the faithbased program.

The Edmonton Logos Society sent "an alert to parents" early this month that says the proposed policy might force teachers and principals with the Christian alternative program to go against their beliefs.

All children should be free from bullying and everyone should be treated with dignity and respect, in keeping with Jesus's teachings, the notice says.

However, if the policy developed . (it) means that our Logos teachers and principals would no longer be able to express freely in their classrooms that the homosexual lifestyle is not in accord with their Christian beliefs, and that they would be required to 'affirm' homosexual lifestyle as acceptable to traditional Christian family values, then we cannot accept this," the two-page notice says in bold lettering.

The alert, sent out in a newsletter and on the Logos website, urges parents to read the draft policy, express their opinions to Edmonton public school officials and trustees, and pray trustees won't "put teachers and principals in a position where they would be prohibited from freely expressing their Christian beliefs in the classroom. After all, this is what our program is all about."

School trustees voted 8-1 in March to create a policy for schools dealing with discrimination based on sexual orientation. A draft policy was developed and is posted on the school board website.

A key Logos concern centres around the meaning of "affirm" in the draft policy. The document says sexual and gender minority students, staff and families as well as same-sex parented families have the right to "be included, affirmed and represented in an inclusive, positive and respectful manner by all school personnel" and "have their unique identities, families, cultures and communities valued and affirmed within all aspects of the school environment."

The school board invited public feedback to the draft policy through an online survey that closed on Thursday.

The Logos newsletter encouraged concerned parents to answer the survey.

However, Logos Society president Bruce Wilkinson said it was hard to notify parents about the policy because Edmonton Public Schools blocked the newsletter from being distributed as usual. The Logos Lantern normally goes out to students in their classrooms, Wilkinson said this weekend.

This time, Logos schools and the society were told public-school policy prohibits schools from distributing politically motivated communications.

So the Logos Society enlisted parents to hand out the newsletter on public sidewalks outside the schools. About 1,100 Logos students attend seven schools across the city alongside students in the regular program...

...School board chairman Dave Colburn estimated the board has heard from "no more than a couple of dozen Christian parents" worried about the policy.

"I would hope that, by and large, the Christian community would understand the importance of respecting the dignity, safety and well-being of all of our students," Colburn said Sunday.

"It seems to me the principles of safety, respect and acceptance of all people and understanding the value of every human being would be a fundamental part of Christianity, and I'd like to think people would consider those values when they respond to the creation of this policy."

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