As a former student I was always proud of the progressiveness and liberality of Vanier Catholic Secondary School. I was, admittedly, filled with teen angst during my high school years. Nonetheless, I appreciated my teachers’ non-discriminatory acceptance of students regardless of gender, sexuality, or religion.
I learned of world religions and toleration of different cultures in conjunction with my academic studies. Most teachers understood that we had not chosen our high school, but were there under the duress of someone else. So long as we respected Catholicism and school practices, teachers and other faculty respected our expressions of self.
I am still grateful for my teachers; they provided me with the skill and confidence to become the successful student at the University of Victoria I am today.
That being said, I am grossly ashamed by Vanier’s stance on same-sex relationships. To say that same-sex attraction is a “strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil” is to undo decades of work towards equality and acceptance of differing views of spirituality, sexuality, and general belief.
What’s more, as an isolated community riddled with grief, destitution, and alienation, Whitehorse should provide as many havens of safety and acceptance as possible. To make a policy as absurd as “Living with hope” is to further ostracize youth who already feel displaced and alienated in their community.
For youth who lack the support of familial or congregational acceptance, school can be a refuge. To implement a policy of hatred and disapproval is to further reduce the opportunities for young people to feel comfortable in, and accepted by their community.
Vanier was my high school and although I still appreciate and am grateful for the education I received, I am ashamed to associate myself with this sort of back step into denial and ostracism.
I don’t believe the government should cut funding for education under most circumstances, this included. However, I do think the teachers and faculty members that have taught acceptance and understanding for so many years should stand up against this unjust and outdated policy.
Vanier Catholic faculty members, please fight against this back-step and advocate, instead, for progression into modernity.