Teaching students about gender identity does not violate their rights, court rules

Teaching students about gender identity does not violate their rights, decides a court

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This is the latest case related to gender identity in the classroom to be heard in court (archives).

The Human Rights Tribunal of the #x27;Ontario has denied a petition by the parents of a Grade 1 student in Ottawa who argued that gender identity lessons violated their daughter's human rights.

< p class="e-p">A human rights lawyer says this case highlights the importance of balancing parents' concerns with protecting and supporting children in the classroom, especially those who may have different identities. different from those of their classmates.

The ruling, released in late August, cleared the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) of any violations to the Human Rights Code.

This is the latest case related to gender identity in the classroom to be heard in court.

Adjudicator Eva Nichols, who presided over the case, explains in her decision that not only did the impromptu lessons on gender identity violate any student's human rights, but that the systemic changes demanded by parents amounted to asking the commission to ignore Ontario's human rights laws on gender identity and expression.

We are extremely disappointed with the result, said the girl's mother, Pamela Buffone in a press release. Our daughter recalls the lessons being very upsetting.

The court ruling repeatedly noted that neither Pamela Buffone nor her husband were able to; explain how they came to the conclusion that their daughter was overwhelmed by the lessons.

OCDSB said in a statement that it would closely review the decision of the court and that he remains committed to supporting his students, their families and his staff.

In response to follow-up questions from CBC, Ms Buffone said that when her daughter recounted what had happened, she was visibly upset.

She was not crying, the mother said, but she was clearly struggling with everything taught in class.

During the hearing, Ms Buffone said describes discussions of gender identity in school as cultural colonization and a method of reprogramming a child's identity.

In their petition, the Buffones asked for financial compensation and a court directive that teachers must notify parents when a gender identity lesson is taking place.

They also wanted the OCDSB to ensure that classroom instruction did not devalue, deny, or in any way compromise the female gender and/or gender. gender identity, and that the school board change its approach to teaching all things gender, including avoiding gender fluidity altogether.

Buffone moved her two children to another school board the following year because she had lost faith in the OCDSB.

In a statement, the #x27;OCDSB said the decision affirms the importance of fostering learning environments for students of all ages that are inclusive and representative of all gender identities.

The District remains committed to helping students, families, and staff navigate with dignity the many difficult conversations that can arise in the promotion and protection of identity, human rights, and integrity. #x27;student learning, the school board added.

Everyone is welcome at OCDSB.

A lawyer specializing in LGBTQ issues, Me Shakir Rahim, explained that it is not enough that a particular subject is discussed in class for the court to intervene and that the facts of the case do not constitute not discrimination.

I believe this decision explains why the mere fact that this subject is part of a school curriculum does not constitute a violation of someone's human rights.

He stressed the importance of supporting people whose gender identity may be different from that of the majority of their peers, such as transgender children.

“This decision explains why just having this as part of a program is not a violation of someone's human rights.

— Shakir Rahim, Human Rights Lawyer

We need to make sure these children are protected and safe in the classroom.< /p>

In a press release, the lawyer who represented the Buffone family claimed that the decision was the result of an irreconcilable conflict of worldviews in our current society.

Respecting the inherent human dignity of people of different gender, through inclusion and acceptance, is a very different goal than instilling in all children the belief that their gender is a fiction or that they must have a gender identity, she added.

The Buffones' application was filed in March 2019, but the events in question took take place in January 2018.

According to the testimony of the first-grade teacher, the students had been instructed by a previous teacher to leave a bottle of hand sanitizer on their desks when they went to the bathroom.

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There were two such bottles, each with a sticker: one with the outline of a boy, and the other a girl , as is often depicted on the doors of public restrooms.

The teacher noted that a student had been teased by other students after using the wrong bottle.

After removing the stickers, the teacher told the class that a person can be physically a certain way, but be different in heart, depending on the court's decision.

The teacher, who was not named to prevent the student and the school from being identified, used classroom resources reserved for teaching times.

These included the book My Princess Boy” by Cheryl Kilodavis, which is about the expression gender, and a video titled He, She and They, which discusses gender pronouns. During the class discussion, one student said that people can go to a doctor to change their body. The teacher confirmed that it was possible.

At one point, he told the students that boys and girls don't exist.

Pamela Buffone and her husband became aware of this episode about two months later. later, when their then six-year-old daughter said at a family meal that boys and girls didn't exist and that she didn't want to be a mom when she grew up and died. #x27;she preferred to have a dog instead.

Ms. Buffone asked to meet the pedagogue in question to share her concerns. Following this meeting, the teacher arranged a follow-up lesson to clarify her statements. She drew a gender spectrum on the board: a line with a boy on one end, a girl on the other, and several marks in between indicating other possible gender identities.

< p class="e-p">Shortly after, the parents mentioned observing their daughter playing teacher and giving a similar lesson on the gender spectrum to her teddy bears.

In their petition to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Buffones alleged that the school board discriminated against educational services, based on gender and gender identity. /p>

Nepean high school students took part in a protest in support of transgender students in October 2021 (archives).

In her spare time, Pamela Buffone runs a website as well as a Twitter account that criticizes education and legal issues relating to children's gender identity, particularly policies that recognize transgender and gender rights. different.

In her statement, she called the court's decision further proof that a new political dogma is being thrust upon us all, including six-year-old children in our education system.

A girl can go to school knowing she's a girl and go home not knowing who she is. -she says, because schools meddle in children's identities by completely ignoring biological reality as a relevant and important personal characteristic, now with the full backing [of the Human Rights Tribunal ;Ontario].

The court, for its part, wrote in its decision that the application did not contain any allegation that the school board's policy violated the [Human Rights Code].

With information from Alexander Behne, of CBC News

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