“Leave Our Kids Alone” Parents Protest Indoctrination in Schools Canada Wide But are Being Called Bigots for Trying to Protect Their Children

September 20th was the highly anticipated date set by the organizers of the “1 Million March 4 Children,” where concerned parents marched to protect their children’s rights in front of their local City Halls and school board headquarters. Parents are feeling a loss of control over the idealogical content teachers feel the liberty to impart on their children. Parents claim their children are left confused by the idea of gender fluidity and medically transitioning to the opposite gender assigned at birth. 

But a cohort on the so called progressive left has been quick to call the concerned parents far-right extremists, fascists and bigots and seek to have the movement dismissed as one of “hate.”

An issue as nuanced as this is, is it that simple?

Unity Across Cultures, Faiths and Ethnicities

Gender identity and indoctrination concerns pulled in crowds in many cities across the country. This issue appears to be one of the greatest unifiers in recent memory.  Muslims, Catholics, and Jews spoke at various events as attendance at the events was multi-racial.   Many speakers were quick to point out that the crowds were quite diverse, with whites, blacks and Asians all in attendance.  At one rally, a black Jewish speaker noted how this was in contrast to the so called “counter protesters.” 

People of all cultures, faiths and ethnicities are concerned that parental rights and family values are seemingly being attacked in schools by a small but powerful group of vocal educators who have taken it upon themselves to go beyond the parameters of neutral teaching to impose their identity or view of identity on others.  The concept of gender identity has become a hot button topic as of late, and those behind the march are concerned that transgender discussions are going far beyond “respect” and “inclusion” to forcing students to consider such identities and to ignore and belittle religious teachings and beliefs.  A recently leaked video from an Ontario Federation of Labour zoom meeting shed some light into how certain leaders in the union/labour movement view the parental march, remarking that the march was going beyond far-right ideology and labelling them as “fascists” and warning that “it’s just a matter of time before they come for us.”  The meeting was full of scare tactics and people who, if given a podium, would make you believe that the sky is falling and they are the saviours of humanity.  

Such alarmist language and behaviour is a significant misplay.  While there is no doubt that some elements in the movement harbour far right and extremist views, it is undeniable that a large body of parents across cultures/faiths/ethnicities is coming together to form a formidable force. These parents are genuinely concerned about the erosion of parental agency and right of parents to be involved in issues that involve family values and faith based principles. This is not a force to be misjudged, or underestimated and the issue is emotionally charged enough that this movement is not going away.  

Saskatchewan Planned Parenthood Banned From Schools 

In a province located in central Canada, Saskatchewan, controversy erupted when the local chapter of Planned Parenthood was caught providing graphic material to minors that used cartoons to depict lewd sexual acts, slang sexual terminology and graphic pictures involving acts of defecation, urine and semen.  A deck of 26 cards was handed out, with a “A to Z” of sex, complete with sexual terms and accompanying cartoons with instructions to be “sex positive” about the acts depicted.  Without getting into the lewd details, “S” was for “snowballing” and other cards described yellow and brown showers, while support was provided for unprotected sex.  The cards come from a group called CATIE (Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange), which ironically is funded by taxpayers.  CATIE is no stranger to controversy, having been linked to the distribution of a “safer snorting” kid that was distributed to kids in another Canadian province, British Columbia.  

The provincial government in Saskatchewan acted swiftly and decisively after receiving parental complaints and banned Planned Parenthood from any further classroom presentations pending a full review of curriculum documents and resources.  

Inflammatory Media Reporting

In what can only be described as a glorious irony, school boards, media, many elected officials and labour/union groups across the country quickly painted the protest as hateful, forgetting their own teachings about not stereotyping entire swaths of people with the same brush.  Despite this one sided smear job, in reality, the protests were quite peaceful, with a few hotspots arising only due to the presence of vocal counter protests, who were intent on shutting down and silencing the protests.  It seems that these so called “defenders” of inclusion conveniently forget about the protected freedoms in the Constitution when it doesn’t fulfill their own ideologies or interests.  

What’s Next

If the protests of September 20th are any indication, this issue is not going away.  For many parents, a line in the sand has been drawn.  For these parents, releasing agency and autonomy over faith based teachings is a non-starter.  They are requesting that schools do what they are supposed to do:  teach the curriculum and create a safe and inclusive space by not passing judgment over certain students who come from a faith based home.  These parents want an education system that is transparent, open and honest about the content that is being covered in classrooms.  They want assurances that freedom of religion will be respected.  They want assurances that age appropriate content is vetted properly with advance notice to parents.  This should not be surprising, because for the longest time, most education systems have reassured parents that they are an important part of their child’s education; an ally in the physical and mental development of their children; an integral ingredient in the growth and development of the next generation.  

Those that ignore these parents do so at their own peril. Labelling these parents with derisive buzzwords will not stop them.  In fact, it will only serve to reinforce the strength of their convictions and will only act to grow the movement.  An awakening has arrived and it would be best to recalibrate what is happening in our classrooms.