Parents’ rights groups opposed to the Liberal government’s controversial sex-ed curriculum are mobilizing for an October 1 province-wide student strike that organizers say is inspired by Thorncliffe Park.
That singular 30-day protest began September 8 when about half the total number of students enrolled in the Grade 1 to 5 Thorncliffe Park Public School and adjacent Fraser Mustard kindergarten school – about 700 children – were pulled out of school and taught in the nearby park.
Thorncliffe Parents Association parents organized “the ‘school in the garden’” president Khalid Mahmood told LifeSiteNews in an email, “and their children are sacrificing under heat and rain to stand on behalf of millions of children who need help in academics, where our Ministry of Education is far behind, and sending it a message to focus on your original job.”
A predominately Muslim community, Thorncliffe Park has become the epicentre of sex-ed dissent in Premier Kathleen Wynne’s riding of Don Valley West, and TPA has vowed to keep their kids out of public school for September, a protest that will now culminate in the October 1 province-wide strike.
That action is being organized by Canadian Families Alliance (CFA), a grassroots parents’ rights coalition that represents more than 25 associations and an estimated 200,000 parents.
“This province-wide student strike will cap off month-long demonstrations that began with the Sept 2nd protests at 103 MPP offices, followed by the awe-inspiring emptying of two elementary schools in Premier Wynne’s own riding,” says Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life Coalition, a CFA member group.
“We know from inside sources that the Liberal regime of Kathleen Wynne is alarmed by the growing anti-child-sexualization movement,” he told LifeSiteNews. “Parents and grandparents must now escalate the pressure on the Wynne regime.”
“What better way to do that than another massive, coordinated, one-day student strike?”
Teresa Pierre, president of Parents As First Educators (PAFE), told LifeSiteNews in an email that her association supports “the October 1, 2015 effort of parents across Ontario pulling their children from their elementary classrooms to protest Kathleen Wynne’s Sex Ed Agenda.”
“If it’s possible for your family to do this in your community, this would help send a strong message to the government that they should stop interfering with parents’ rights to be the primary educators of their children,” Pierre urged parents.
PAFE supporters “tell us across the province that they believe that Kathleen Wynne’s Sex Ed curriculum is an attack on the innocence of their children,” she added.
“What has transpired at Thorncliffe Park” is “both an inspiration and a call to action to parents throughout the province,” says Sam Sotiropoulos, a former trustee with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).
Director of My Child My Choice parents’ rights organization, Sotiropoulos pointed to the first student strike that was held in May, about two months after the Liberal government released the contentious curriculum, in which 35,000 children were pulled from school in the TDSB alone.
“I think that we’re going to have a May 4 reprise,” he said. “Even greater, in fact, because now people have had the chance to spread the word. May 4 was just a dress rehearsal.”
A province-wide student strike will be effective “in making sure that the politicians understand that we are not going away, that this is going to be an ongoing and continuing escalation,” he said.
And a student strike is “a direct statement to the various school boards that the parents reject the idea of this curriculum being imposed on their children,” said Sotiropoulos. “It’s been pretty much established that the so-called consultation that this government claimed to have engaged in was a farce.”
Meanwhile, under the rallying cry of “We are Thorncliffe,” similar strike protests have already multiplied across the province, and include actions in Mississauga on September 18 and 21, Peterborough on Tuesday, and an upcoming strike protest in Ajax and Oshawa on September 29, organized by the Durham Concerned Parents.
Laura van Bakel, president of Concerned Parents of Peterborough (CPP) told LifeSiteNews that 64 people took part in the September 22 strike. Some of the children were homeschooled, and of the striking students, she thought all were from the publicly funded Catholic system.
“The sex curriculum is age-inappropriate, too explicit and nudges children toward premature sexual experimentation. We’re going to demand our school trustees work to scrap this irresponsible program,” van Bakel said in a CPP press release.
“I don’t want my 11 year old to be taught about various sexual positions, including anal intercourse. It is up to us to teach our own children about sex within our own value system,” stated Peterborough parent Sharon McGrory.
And parent Johanna Schady commented that, “If you separate the teaching of sexual health from the teaching of values, children learn to treat each other as commodities and our children deserve better than that.”
Van Bakel says CPP is also committed to protesting each month at Liberal MPP Jeff Leal’s office until the sex-ed curriculum is repealed.
TPA’s Mahmood said that Thorncliffe Park Public School principal Jeff Crane has been assuring parents that nothing objectionable is being taught in the curriculum.
But Mahmood counters that the sex-ed curriculum “promotes homosexuality” and is “corrupting children in sexual activities at their tender age.” And he denies Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne’s statement in February that parents opposed to the sex-ed curriculum are “homophobic.”
“We have declared that our struggle is not against any community, but to stop any type of indoctrination under the fake claim of human rights,” he told LifeSiteNews. “They are openly converting kids under the name of teaching respect.”
According to CLC’s Fonseca, Catholic parents should also get involved in opposing the Wynne Liberal government’s sex-ed curriculum, despite assurances by Ontario’s bishops that the Institute of Catholic Education (ICE) will provide resources to teach the curriculum through a “Catholic lens.”
“Parents in the Catholic system who’ve been waiting to see what the ‘Catholic lens’ promised by Ontario’s bishops will look like, need wait no longer,” he said, pointing to ICE’s just-released parent guide to the sex-ed curriculum, “which most reasonable people would agree appears to condone condom use and premarital sexual activity in the section that explains the curriculum expectations.”
“The ICE resources also introduces the vague term of ‘sexual identity,’ which I predict will give cover to left-wing activist teachers who want to normalize the theory of gender identity, transgenderism, transsexualism, cross-dressing, etc under the term of ‘sexual identity’,” Fonseca told LifeSiteNews in an email.
“Now that we know this, Catholic parents and grandparents need to get off their duffs, and get into this fight. Please join the October 1st student strike. You also need to proclaim: We are Thorncliffe!”