Schools should welcome tolerance

By Phil Vorvis

The April 10, 2000 edition of the Alberta Report criticized the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation for approving "gay-straight alliances" in junior and senior high schools, citing that they are nothing more than "propaganda and indoctrination machines." A GSA is an organization that operates just like any other school club. Specifically, GSAs provide a place where homosexual people can feel welcome. The Teachers’ Federation approval was motivated by 14-year-old Surrey resident Hamond Nastoh’s suicide because of torment he faced for his alleged homosexuality.

Nastoh’s grade six teacher told the Vancouver Sun she felt an anti-gay environment in the school reflected the larger civic attitude in Surrey, which contributed to the teenager’s suicide. The Teachers’ Federation endorsed GSAs in an attempt to create an environment in which students could work without fear of ridicule. Family Values groups counter that anti-harassment policies are already in place and that the implementation of GSAs is like having geek clubs, fat kid clubs and skinny boy clubs. These Family Values groups have ignored the value of having a support system which prevents hatred as opposed to a policy which merely tries to deal with hatred’s repercussions.

The Alberta Report goes further off the mark by thinking that homosexuality is a mental condition. The claim that homosexual school clubs are not in the best interest of students and family values is not of any validity because a club only concerns those who are partial to the values and interests of the clubs. No one should disband an organization because they don’t like it or because of their own beliefs. If some clubs aren’t allowed to operate, then many other legitimate clubs that are never questioned should not operate either for the same reason.

Tolerance is a two way street. Even Christian clubs aren’t exempt from the rules and freedoms that all organizations congregate under. This is because Christian organizations aren’t the authority on what is morally tolerable as a club. If they were then it wouldn’t be a free country.

The Alberta Report fails to retain journalistic objectivity by omitting that homosexual organizations don’t "recruit" people to become homosexual. No gay agenda is made at the kindergarten level to sway young minds. Rather the agenda of tolerance is meant to create an environment where everyone is free to be who they are.

Should a person be driven to suicide because of who they are, or who they are accused of being even if they’re not? Should the issue be dismissed because Nastoh’s sexuality was undetermined? The real problem is that ignorant people continue to sweep issues under the carpet, leaving them unsolved and to fester into real social problems.

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