Father appeals ruling upholding forced LGBT indoctrination in Ontario schools
Reporting – LifeSite News – Friday 6th January 2017
HAMILTON, January 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A father of two is appealing an Ontario judge’s decision upholding the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board’s refusal to disclose when morally sensitive subjects such as homosexuality and abortion are discussed.
Steve Tourloukis says the decision denied his parental rights, describing it as “a human rights disaster” and “systemic discrimination against Christians.”
Tourloukis took the public school board to court in 2012 seeking an order that the board tell him in advance what his children will be taught about controversial subjects.
He also sought an order that the school board allow him to pull his children from class if he deemed they would be exposed to what would be “false teaching” according to his Greek Orthodox faith.
But four years and $70,000 later, Tourloukis’ battle ended with Justice Robert Reid of the Ontario Superior Court throwing out his application, including his request that the court declare that as a parent, he has final authority over what his children are taught in public school.
Tourloukis’ case dates back to his 2010 request for religious accommodation, when his daughter was in junior kindergarten and his son in Grade 2, which the HWDSB denied on the basis of its Equity Policy.
The board’s refusal, Tourloukis argued, violated his Charter right of freedom of religion and constituted discrimination under Ontario’s Human Rights Code.
Now the Hamilton dentist has decided to fight on, and his lawyer Albertos Polizogopoulos filed notice with the Ontario Court of Appeal on December 23, arguing Reid made several substantive errors in law in the 24-page decision he issued a month earlier.
“I have to appeal,” Tourloukis told LifeSiteNews in an email.
“This is a judicial endorsement of systemic discrimination against Christians. It’s a human rights disaster right here in Canada.”
What he found especially galling was Reid’s proffered remedy that he simply pull his children from public school, noted Tourloukis.
“I will not have my children cleansed from the school system.”
“The decision to appeal is good news for parents across the province and Canada,” noted Lou Iacobelli, chair of the Parental Rights in Education Defence Fund, which has been bankrolling the landmark case.
“Mr. Tourloukis is fighting for all parents.”
Board’s violation of rights is “not trivial” but “reasonable”: judge
In his November 23 ruling, Reid conceded the board’s interference with Tourloukis’ Charter rights of religious freedom was “not trivial nor insubstantial.”
He also accepted that Tourloukis believed it would be a sin if he did not protect his children from “false teachings,” which include “moral relativism and issues around human sexuality.”
Tourloukis had “demonstrated his religious tenets are significantly at odds with numerous aspects of the Board’s Equity Policy including, but not solely, as regards sexual orientation,” wrote Reid.
But because of the board’s statutory obligations — particularly those outlined in the Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy launched by openly lesbian Premier Kathleen Wynne while she served as education minister in 2009 — its decision to refuse Tourloukis’ request struck a “reasonable” balance between his Charter rights and “Charter protected values of equality and multiculturalism,” he ruled.
The board’s decision not to grant Tourloukis’ request was based in its Equity Policy, in which it “committed to ensure that classroom practices are anti-homophobic and anti-heterosexist,” wrote the judge.
Judge’s ruling gives Wynne carte blanche in schools
Left unchallenged, Reid’s ruling will give governments — in this case, the Liberals led by now Premier Wynne, who has been pushing sex-ed and a pro-LGBTQ agenda in the schools — the legal leverage to overrule parents’ constitutional rights, warned Tourloukis.
“There is now NOTHING stopping the radical Kathleen Wynne government. She has carte blanche to teach little kids anything she wants. We have to appeal,” he told LifeSiteNews. “This terrible decision will affect generations of Christian children.”
The Liberal government intervened in the Tourloukis case, as did the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO).
With the HWDSB, Liberals and the union lawyers outnumbering him six to one, Polizogopoulos argued the case before Reid on June 23, 2016.
He emphasized that Tourloukis did not object to his children receiving factual information, nor to students talking about these matters. But he did want to know when and how these subjects would be conveyed in the classroom, because teachers are authority figures “and hold a very special place in the eyes of children,” he said.
The ETFO argued that having to give advance notice would place an “undue burden” on teachers.
That’s because the “requirements for gender equity, antiracist….and respect for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities” are “so fully integrated” in the curriculum it would be virtually impossible to know when these matters would come up, wrote Reid.
Reid ruled that whether Tourloukis’s request created undue hardship or not “may well be a question” for the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, over which, he claimed, he had no jurisdiction.
Reid sided with the Liberal government and the ETFO in ruling that having Tourloukis’ children leave class would “be contrary to the values of inclusion and well-being, and could lead to feelings of exclusion or marginalization by students.”
Isolating children was “antithetical to the competing legislative mandate and the Charter values favouring inclusivity, equality and multiculturalism,” he wrote.
“Inclusivity” not a Charter value: appeal
In his notice to appeal, Polizogopoulos argues in part that Reid erred in law by concluding that “inclusivity” is a Charter value; that allowing Tourloukis’ children to leave the classroom would “engage competing Charter values” and that the Tourloukis children’s Charter rights were in competition with those of merely “hypothetical children.”
He also asserts Reid erred in law by concluding he had no jurisdiction to rule the school board decision was discrimination under Ontario’s Human Rights Code.
Reid further erred, Polizogopoulos contends, in providing no interim accommodation for Tourloukis other than “proposing the harsh option to exit the public system.”
Indeed, Reid’s suggestion smacks of hypocrisy, according to Tourloukis.
Even though the judge admitted the board violated his Charter rights, Reid ruled that its decision was reasonable “because allowing opt-outs would be antithetical to inclusivity, equality and multiculturalism,” observed Tourloukis.
“And then this hypocritical judicial guardian of inclusivity, equality and multiculturalism suggests that I should opt my kids out of the public school system.”
Appeal could cost $30,000
PRIEDF’s Iacobelli also blasted the ruling in an Every Day for Life Canada blog post.
“The judge essentially failed to respect the applicant’s right to religious freedom and parental autonomy,” he noted.
“He said to Mr. Tourloukis, and by inference to every parent in Canada, that he should send his children to a private school or to homeschool. The judge tells the applicant that the public school system can no longer serve him. But wait a minute! It is parents who support public education through taxation.”
Iacobelli estimated that the appeal could cost up to $30,000.
“One of the big roadblocks to an appeal is the cost. Government and school boards have lots of taxpayer money while an individual parent or family must fundraise,” he added.
He urged those who could donate to do so through the PRIEF website. “Those who have already donated, we thank you for standing up and defending parental rights and religious freedom,” Iacobelli noted.
“We also thank and pray for Steve Tourloukis and his family for leading the battle to defend parental rights and Christian values (religious freedom) in Ontario and Canada for all parents.”
Correction: The original version of this article erroneously stated Reid concurred with the ETFO argument that having to give advance notice would place an “undue burden” on teachers.
Judge upholds forced LGBT indoctrination in Ontario schools, tells Christian dad to pull kids out if he objects
Reporting – LifeSite News – Thursday 24th November 2016
HAMILTON, Ontario, November 24, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — An Ontario judge has ruled against a Hamilton father of two in a decision critics say strikes a major blow to parental rights.
Steve Tourloukis took the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) to court after it refused to give him advance notice when his children would be exposed in the classroom to sensitive subjects, such as homosexuality and abortion.
He wanted advance notice so he could decide whether or not to pull his kids from lessons he found objectionable according to his Greek Orthodox faith.
Tourloukis asked the Court to rule that board’s decision violated his Charter rights of freedom of religion, and to declare he had final authority over the education of his children.
In a 24-page judgement released Wednesday, Justice Robert Reid of the Ontario Superior Court found that the HWDSB had indeed impinged on Tourloukis’ Charter-protected right of religious freedom.
But Reid concluded the board’s refusal to grant Tourloukis religious accommodation, including giving him advance notice, was “reasonable,” given the board’s statutory obligations — particularly those outlined in the Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy launched by then-Education minister Kathleen Wynne in 2009.
Reid also ruled that the board’s decision struck a proportional balance with competing Charter rights of “equality and multiculturalism.”
Being permitted to pull his children from classes he objected to would allow Tourloukis “to isolate his children from aspects of the curriculum that in his religious belief would amount to ‘false teaching’,” wrote Reid.
“However, isolation is antithetical to the competing legislative mandate and the Charter values favouring inclusivity, equality and multiculturalism.”
The justice also tossed out Tourloukis’ request that the Court declare that, as a parent, he has the final authority over the education of his children.
Reid wrote that “parental rights” are “a matter of some nuance,” and added that a “black-and-white declaration of parental authority” would “oversimplify the common law principles” that were not in dispute.
He also opined that Tourloukis has the option of taking his kids out of public school if he is worried about “false teaching.”
Blow to parental rights
Pro-family advocates denounced the ruling as a blow to parental rights.
“I’m so saddened by the court decision. It’s a terrible verdict for parental rights in this province. My heart and prayers go out to Dr. Steve Tourloukis and his family,” noted Lou Iacobelli, chair of the Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund, which has bankrolled the four-year-long court challenge.
“This decision goes against the parental right to withdraw children from the radical sex curriculum, and it amounts to the undoing of parental rights in Ontario,” Iacobelli told LifeSiteNews in an email. “The judge is essentially telling parents that they have rights but those rights come to an end when children attend the public school system.”
Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life echoed this, describing the ruling as “terrible.”
“It essentially says that parental rights are subordinate to the State’s rights,” he told LifeSiteNews.
“While acknowledging the impingement on the father’s right to religious freedom is not a trivial matter, Justice Reid nonetheless renders it trivial, subjecting Tourloukis’s Charter right to the superiority of the school board’s alleged duty to embed homosexuality, gender identity, anti-heterosexism, anti-homophobia into all subject matters,” added Fonseca.
“The courts have ruled against parents, who are the first educators and always will be,” noted Tanya-Granic Allen, president of Parents As First Educators (PAFE).
“For the government to get involved in a school board matter is ludicrous,” she told LifeSiteNews in an email. “Will the Kathleen Wynne government’s totalitarian attitude towards parents ever stop? Based on recent events and actions, I think not — not unless parents rise up against the politicians who think they run the families of Ontario.”
Equity Policy “at odds with” Christian beliefs: judge
Tourloukis, a Hamilton dentist, launched his challenge in 2012, but it dates back to his 2010 request for religious accommodation, when his daughter was in junior kindergarten and his son in Grade 2, and which the HWDSB denied on the basis of its Equity Policy.
The Liberal government and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) both intervened in the case, which was heard June 23.
Lawyer Albertos Polizogopoulos asked the Court to rule that not only had the HWDSB violated the Charter, but its refusal to grant the religious accommodation request was discrimination under Ontario’s Human Rights Code.
Tourloukis did not object to his children receiving factual information, or to students talking about these matters, Polizogopoulos argued, but he wanted to know when and how these would be conveyed in the classroom, because teachers are authority figures “and hold a very special place in the eyes of children.”
In his ruling, Reid accepted that Tourloukis’s religious beliefs were sincerely held.
Those beliefs include “that marriage is a sacrament and that sexual relations are sacred and should only be between a man and a woman within the sacred institution of marriage,” noted the justice.
“Likewise, he believes that same-sex sexual relations are not God’s intention and that there are only two genders, namely male and female.”
Tourloukis also believes it would be a sin if he did not protect his children from “false teachings,” which include “moral relativism and issues around human sexuality,” wrote Reid.
And Tourloukis “demonstrated his religious tenets are significantly at odds with numerous aspects of the Board’s Equity Policy including, but not solely, as regards sexual orientation.”
In its Equity Policy, wrote Reid, the HWDSB “committed to ensure that classroom practices are anti-homophobic and anti-heterosexist.”
“To allow his children to be exposed to the ‘open’ approach to human sexuality contained in the Equity Policy would be to allow them exposure to what he characterizes as ‘false teachings’ which is contrary to his faith,” Reid wrote. “Exposure is a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ and it is the fact of the exposure, not the result that the applicant feels under a religious obligation to prevent.”
Board’s infringement of Charter rights “reasonable”
Reid agreed that board’s “interference” with Tourloukis’s Charter rights of religious freedom “is not trivial or insubstantial.”
Indeed, the HWDSB’s Equity Policy “created a direct impingement on the applicant’s right to religious freedom as he defines it.”
Nevertheless, the board’s decision that it cannot “accommodate religious values and beliefs that clearly conflict with mandated Ministry of Education and board policies” was reasonable, concluded Reid.
He ruled, moreover, that the board’s decision strikes a proportional balance between Tourloukis’ religious rights and its Equity Policy objectives, which fall under the “Charter protected values of equality and multiculturalism.”
Reid noted that the HWDSB based its Equity Policy on the Ministry of Education’s Policy Program Memorandum 119 of 2009, and that Bill 13, which mandated equity and inclusivity policies in all publicly funded schools, was not in force when Tourloukis launched his case.
But Bill 13, which passed in June 2012, “is an after-the-fact confirmation of the previous mandate of the Education Act, as was understood by the respondent and is consonant with the provisions of PPM 119 and the Board’s Equity Policy.”
LGBTQ issues “embedded across curriculum”: EFTO
Reid noted that the teachers’ union argued that “the curriculum has so fully integrated the requirements for gender equity, antiracist, respect for people with disabilities and respect for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities that it would be impractical if not impossible to advise the applicant in advance when any of the positions he considers objectionable were to be taught.”
The ETFO also argued that it would be an “undue burden on teachers” to “keep track of the varied of possibly objectionable subjects listed by parents of students and to provide individual accommodations accordingly,” wrote the justice.
“That’s a load of bull,” Fonseca told LifeSiteNews. “It’s not at all difficult for teachers to give parents advance notice of sexuality lessons. We’re not talking about keeping 500 things straight in your head.”
The Wynne government and the ETFO also supported the board’s position that having Tourloukis’ children leave class would “be contrary to the values of inclusion and well-being, and could lead to feelings of exclusion or marginalization by students,” Reid wrote.
“The judge bought into the argument presented by the lawyers of the Board, the Wynne government, and the ETFO, that if the parent was permitted to withdraw his children from class, it would somehow infringe upon the Charter rights of the theoretical gay children and children from homosexual households, who may or may not be in the classroom,” noted CLC’s Fonseca.
Tourloukis can pull his kids from public school, judge says
Reid suggested Tourloukis could take his children out of public schools.
“It may well be that the legislated mandate of the Education Act, and through it the Board’s Equity Policy, which the applicant finds objectionable, operate to preclude his children’s participation in the public education system,” he wrote.
“That system, by definition, must provide education at the broadest possible cross-section of the population,” noted Reid.
“To the extent that the concern about ‘false teaching’ outweighs other advantages of the public school system, the applicant may need to seek such other alternatives.”
But “all parents are taxpayers and this is why the ruling is discriminatory,” Iacobelli pointed out.
“If parents with Christian beliefs have lost their right to have these values respected in public schools, then they should be demanding a tax refund for the portion of their taxes that goes to pay for public education,” he told LifeSiteNews. “Parents can then spend the money for the schooling of their choice.”
Costs for case could be ruinous
Reid also left it up to the parties to determine how costs would be settled, notes Fonseca. That means the two lawyers for the Wynne government, two from the board and two from the ETFO could submit costs to Polizogopoulos, he noted.
“Not content with just stripping the father of his parental rights, this tyrant judge consciously left the door open for the six government-funded lawyers to ruin him financially,” Fonseca said, adding that by his estimates, “the cost of six well-paid government lawyers could easily reach $750,000.”
Fonseca said the decision must be appealed, but pointed out that the father’s legal defense fund is already $12,000 in the red. “Add a nearly $1-million punitive invoice from Wynne’s lawyers, and it imperils the father’s ability to continue fighting for all our parental rights.”
Iacobelli echoed this, noting the court challenge has cost $70,000 so far. “This is how they stop you from speaking out,” he said. “It’s so unjust.”
Polizogopoulos was still reviewing the decision and not able to comment on his client’s position at deadline.
Have the pornogogues taken over your kids’ school? Get out. Now.
LifeSite News – Monday 7th July 2014
Readers of LifeSiteNews are aware of the lawsuit brought by Dr. Steve Tourloukis of Hamilton, Ontario, against the Hamilton-Wentworth school board. He is a devout member of the Orthodox Church, and he wants to be told when the school plans to introduce to his children sexual material that he finds objectionable. The school board does not want to yield. They are standing on principles, such as those are. They believe they are “co-parents,” and that “children have a right to an inclusive education,” which means, simply, they have a “right” to be educated into complete sexual indifference and chaos. For the inclusivity is notably rigid and uniform.
My wishes are with Dr. Tourloukis, and though I’m only a summer visitor to Canada, I think the law is on his side. Still, the situation calls for a broader perspective. We should step back from the specifics of this case to consider just what is going on, and what we should do about it.
Suppose your child returns from visiting his friend next door, and tells you that the father has been showing the boys some interesting films involving, well, boys and girls doing things. What do you do? You call the police. If Mr. Pornogogue the neighbor says, “I believe that we are all co-parents of one another’s children,” and “Every child has a right to a full view of human sexuality,” I doubt that his sententiousness would hold up in court. You might express your rebuttal against his teeth, in the form of a firm fist and knuckles. But here is what you would not do. You would not say, “Mr. Pornogogue, whenever you are going to show those films again, I want you to give me a call beforehand, so that I can make sure that Timmy stays home.”
I mean no disrespect for Dr. Tourloukis, but the point is that the pornogogue is going to do what the pornogogue is going to do. Yes, we should do all we can to palliate conditions in the open sewer; but the main thing is to get out of the sewer. Anyone who desires to subject children to a sexually charged curriculum, from kindergarten through grade twelve, is a pornogogue – maybe a nice pornogogue, a deluded pornogogue, a daft pornogogue – and that person with a depraved imagination is going to do what he or she is going to do. Supposing you could make sure that your child is absent for the five days on the year when the offenses are most rank and smell to heaven. What about all the other days? You are leaving your child’s mind and imagination in the care of someone depraved, in the old sense of that word: bent, crooked, out of kilter. Do you really believe that the stories the teacher chooses, the things the teacher talks about, the casual remarks the teacher makes, the coloring that the teacher gives to Christianity and Christendom, will not be crooked likewise?
Or, suppose you are dealing with a panel of politicians who want to require all children, whether their parents like it or not, to spend one day a year talking to pimps and harlots. Sure, you should labor to exempt as many children as possible from the requirement. But the real problem is that you have such a panel of rogues to begin with. If they say, “We are co-parents, we will determine what is best for your child,” then you have a panel of rogues with a taste for tyranny too – boundless in their assumption of authority. You are no longer the employer of your children’s teachers. You are the serf on the manor, and if you don’t want trouble you will keep your mouth shut.
Someone will have to palliate the harm that the panel does. But once you have arrived at such a pass, it is time to face facts. The thing as a whole is irremediable. You are not going to get anything but harm from Mr. Pornogogue, even if you win a small battle once in a while. You are not going to wrest sanity for children from the totalitarians. You cannot cast out demons in the name of Trudeau. You cannot hide your nakedness behind the Charter of Rights. If you have school boards celebrating fornication and sodomy and all the rest of the sexual chaos, you are dealing with something far more brutish than the pagan schools of old. The schools are pagan and worse than pagan. The mildew has penetrated clean through. The termites have chewed the studs into sawdust. The hollow walls are filled with rats’ nests.
It is time to get out.
It’s not as if those schools, in the United States or Canada, actually perform the humble but necessary tasks we want them to perform. I am continually meeting graduates in both countries who not only have never read Chaucer, Milton, or Tennyson, but who do not recognize their names. Hannibal who? The Magna what?
Do not believe that you’ll save your children by talking to them occasionally at home. A few gulps of good air will not undo the harm of a whole day of poisonous fog. Their classmates, their teachers, their textbooks, the banners on the school’s walls, and the daily announcements will all be against you.
So it’s long past time when people who believe in the holiness of sexuality, marriage, and human life should build new schools, a hundred a year. Yes, it is expensive. But there’s no alternative. And those schools can begin to teach what our masters have left untaught for so many years.
Ontario dad sues school board over no opt out classes on sex
TORONTO, Sept. 10, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Hamilton-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 sexuality.
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.
“[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.”
The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board appears to be adopting a similar policy. In 2010, an instruction document for teachers that was leaked to media laid out the school board’s position that they do not “condone” children being removed from classes on homosexuality just as they would not when it comes to classes on discrimination related to race or disability.
The document, distributed at a professional development day on “equity”, included “quick responses” for teachers when parents object to “anti-homophobia” curriculum.
“This is not about parent rights. Children have the right to an inclusive education free from discrimination,” read one response. “You can teach your child your own values at home. Public schools teach everyone about respecting diversity and valuing everyone,” read another.
Tourloukis’ lawyer is Albertos Polizogopoulos, and the lawsuit is backed by The Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund, a non-profit organization.
At a press conference Monday organized by the Defense Fund, Tourloukis explained that the lawsuit has only come after repeated failed attempts to secure religious accommodation from the board.
He said in the spring of 2010 he had attended a meeting on the board’s new equity policy, where officials told the angry crowd of parents that the board would provide religious accommodation when requested.
Several weeks later, however, he received a copy of the board’s “quick responses” for teachers, and so wrote in requesting an exemption for his children. The board refused.
He replied, pointing out that the board’s own equity policy guarantees religious accommodation, and he was then invited to a meeting with the school’s principal and the board’s equity principal.
“During this meeting, which lasted over an hour and a half, I was repeatedly told that to permit my children to leave the class during certain lessons would somehow be discrimination against other children,” he explained.
“The solution offered to me was rather insulting. It was suggested I should leave the school board and enroll my children in private school or try homeschooling,” he continued. “Therefore, to accommodate the religious beliefs of my family in a manner that has been previously endorsed by the Ministry of Education – by opting out of certain lessons – would somehow be to discriminate against some children.”
“However, telling my family that we were no longer welcome in the school system because of our beliefs was not considered discriminatory. I was stunned by the hypocrisy,” he added.
Lou Iacobelli, chairperson of The Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund, told reporters that they “reject the notion that teachers and educational bureaucrats are ‘co-parents’ and thus have an equal right with the parents to direct the moral education of children.”
“We have a case of a school board not only seeing itself as being an ‘equal’ co-parent, but in fact, as having a superior right over the parent to influence which religious beliefs their children will eventually embrace as their own, even if it means contradicting what the parents tell them at home,” he continued.
“They essentially told the father of two elementary school children that his religious beliefs must be suppressed in the name of ‘equity’. The violation of these long-recognized rights should be offensive to all parents,” he added.
LifeSiteNews.com did not hear back from the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board by press time.