The B.C. Civil Liberties Association is calling on the Minister of Education Christie Clark to approve three books depicting same-sex parented families – Asha’s Mums, Belinda’s Bouquet and One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dad, Blue Dads – or alternate books, for use in schools throughout British Columbia.
The BCCLA’s demand for Ministry approval is in response to the Surrey School Board’s latest decision to reject the books for a variety of reasons including poor grammar and spelling and age inappropriateness.
“It is time to end this charade. We have had enough of a Board that clearly does not value tolerance nor values the rule of law and is willing to waste public money defending a decision that is indefensible,” stated John Dixon, BCCLA President. “It is time for the Minister, who has the legal authority to approve books for general curriculum use, to step up to the plate and end this game.”
“The Supreme Court of Canada all but ruled that these books should be taught in the schools and now the Board is using the flimsiest of reasons to reject the books. Even a kindergarten or grade 1 student can see through this decision. The Board has simply caved into parents who expressed disapproval of the books based on religious grounds and who are quite frankly homophobic.”
The BCCLA had appeared before the Board last Monday to plead with them to put aside the politics of division and fear. “We had appealed to the Board to demonstrate leadership and real commitment to a value that they are supposed to be teaching our young students – tolerance. They have failed their students and the educational system,” said Dixon.
If the Ministry fails to take action, the BCCLA expects that only a court order, like the order by the United States Supreme Court ending segregation in public schools, will ensure that tolerance for the diversity of Canadian families will be taught in Surrey schools and other school districts.
The Association is fully prepared to lead that legal charge. The BCCLA had intervened at all levels of court to argue that the decision not to approve the books violated principles in the School Act.
“The Supreme Court of Canada was very clear: the Surrey School District must ensure that there are books depicting same sex parented families available for teachers in classrooms. If they did not like these particular books, they have had over six months to find alternatives ones. Their failure to do so exhibits bad faith. It is time for Minister Clark to ensure that tolerance can be taught in Surrey schools,” added Dixon.