Re: Cool the Catholic bashing, by Rick Tone (the News, March 22)
Thanks to Mr. Tone for providing a rational note on the Department of Education anti-bullying policy debate. I totally agree with his perspective.
In a diverse community, people have different values and beliefs. All deserve respect.
Forethought while the policy was being developed could have prevented this problem. Once a problem became apparent, a compromise should have been sought. Instead, a media circus has ensued.
I believe an anti-bullying policy is necessary. Singling out one segment of the school population in this policy is inappropriate. It makes that group a potential target, and it also devalues other kids who are different and may be subject to bullying in schools.
Vanier is a Roman Catholic school. There are two other public high schools in Whitehorse. For those who cannot accept the values and beliefs Vanier upholds, there are other choices for both students and staff. It is not appropriate for a Catholic school to be required to adopt policies inconsistent with Catholic beliefs.
The Yukon Act provides constitutional protection for Protestant and Catholic separate schools. This is part of our history, and as Amanda Graham noted, it is one reason Yukon is separate from B.C. today. Furthermore, taxpayers’ money funds private schools in this country, at provincial and federal levels.
Our human rights are enshrined within the context of a civil society. Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides that “Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.” In that context (which implies compromise), everyone has the following fundamental freedoms per section 2:
a) freedom of conscience and religion;
b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
d) freedom of association.
The department should amend their policy so that it protects all children in our schools, while respecting the separate schools that are part of our educational system.
As Rex Murphy noted in the National Post recently, “Why does the overbearing modern notion of tolerance seem to involve so much … intolerance?”