A Hamilton (Canada) -area Christian father is suing his children’s public school board after they refused to allow him to withdraw his children from controversial lessons on homosexuality. Dr. Steve Tourloukis, a dentist, says the suit comes after he has been asking for accommodation from the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board since Sept. 2010. A member of the Greek Orthodox Church, he has a daughter in grade 1 and a son in grade 4.
The Hamilton-Wentworth board ‘equity policy’ has been controversial. It states:
- If a student writes an essay defending the traditional definition of marriage one man and one woman – they can now be sent to “reeducation” classes, in an attempt to change their homophobic (i.e. “anti-homosexual”) views.
- If a student gives a speech arguing that homosexual activity isn’t normal they could well be suspended – or even expelled – under the School Board’s new “Equity Policy”.
- If a teacher expresses their view that marriage is between one man and one woman they will face disciplinary action, and could face termination.
Tourloukis said, ‘[I want them] to acknowledge my inherent parental rights to direct the spiritual and moral education of my own children,’ he said. ‘They’re my kids, not the government’s, not the Hamilton-Wentworth School Board’s. I don’t believe that teachers are ‘co-parents’ with equal say in my children’s religious beliefs.
Tourloukis filed an application Friday afternoon with the Ontario Superior Court seeking a court order declaring that as the parent of his children, he is the final authority over his children’s education. The order would require the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board to provide him with advance notification of any class, session or material to be covered which conflicts with his sincerely held religious beliefs. ‘My request is reasonable. Just give me advance notice of lessons, activities or materials which touch upon certain subjects, and if I deem it necessary, permit me to withdraw my kids from that particular class or exercise,’ he explained.
Dalton McGuinty’s Ministry of Education has upheld the right of parents to withdraw their children from classes where instruction violates the family’s beliefs. But they have failed to enforce the policy. The Toronto District School Board has a formal policy forbidding withdrawals from its radical pro-homosexual curriculum and even of notifying parents in advance. Board chair Chris Bolton has insisted exemptions will ‘not be condoned’.