Catholic school’s same sex policy revoked

Parents had raised concerns that the document, titled Living With Hope, Ministering By Love, Teaching In Truth, described same-sex attraction as disordered, with a “strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil.”

A controversial policy on homosexuality has been taken down from Vanier Catholic Secondary School’s website.

Parents had raised concerns that the document, titled Living With Hope, Ministering By Love, Teaching In Truth, described same-sex attraction as disordered, with a “strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil.”

Education Minister Scott Kent met with Bishop Gary Gordon Thursday morning, and they both agreed that the policy should be overturned.

“There were some outstanding issues and concerns that hadn’t been dealt with,” said Kent in an interview yesterday.

“I was able to convey that and have those discussions with the bishop this morning and that’s why we both agreed to remove that document from the school website and begin work and a dialogue with the entire school community on a policy development, because this document didn’t meet the tests that the department has to actually qualify as a policy.”

Although his department had reviewed the document, they had not given it final approval, said Kent.

“Education did review the document in the fall of 2012 and provided feedback on what edits were required in order for it to be considered a resource document. There was a suggestion by the department that it be clearly marked as a religious document and be accompanied by our own sexual orientation and gender identity policy.”

Kent had not seen the document until recently, he said.

“I wasn’t really aware of the document itself until a meeting I had with the parents on Feb. 18.”

The next step will be for parents, students, school administrators and the bishop to come together and work towards a policy that is in-line with the department’s own policies.

“I look forward to the school community sitting down and engaging on this,” said Kent. “What I’m looking for as a product is a policy that conforms with the departmental policy on same-sex and gender equity, and that needs to be developed obviously in collaboration with the entire school community.”

The Department of Education has its own resource document on sexual orientation and gender identity, which specifies that schools must have proactive strategies like Gay-Straight Alliance clubs and designated faculty members to support LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered or queer and questioning) students.

The Catholic school’s former policy discouraged staff from using labels like “gay” and “lesbian,” and students have reported that attempts to form a Gay-Straight-Alliance were denied.

Kent would not say if the department would require the school to allow a GSA to form.

“I think at this point it would be premature to talk about that, because I want those discussions to come from the students and the parents and the school community. As I mentioned earlier on, this is something that has to come from the grassroots, and of course the bishop and the church will also play a role in determining that policy.”

The controversy over the school’s document has elicited some calls to de-fund Catholic education in the territory completely.

“At this point we’re not looking to do that,” said Kent.

Funding for Catholic schools is protected in federal legislation, said Kent, and has been in place since the 1960s.

According to the Yukon Act, “The minority of the ratepayers in that part of Yukon, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, may establish separate schools in that part and, if they do so, are liable only to assessments of the rates that they impose on themselves in respect of those schools.”

“I’m a Yukon public school product, not a Catholic school product, but I think that one thing that we can’t argue with is the overall success of these schools over the long term and the type of students and individuals that have graduated from those schools,” said Kent.

“So I think that it’s important that we maintain the types of success that we have seen from the (Catholic) elementary schools and the high school and junior high that preceded that.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at
ºjronson@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Connie Peggy Thorn, 52, pleaded guilty Jan. 27 to manslaughter in the 2017 death of Greg Dawson. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Whitehorse woman pleads guilty to manslaughter in death of Greg Dawson

Connie Thorn, 52, was arrested in October 2019 and pleaded guilty in Supreme Court on Jan. 27.

Abigail Jirousek, left, is tailed by Brian Horton while climbing a hill during the Cross Country Yukon January Classic in Whitehorse on Jan. 23. Jirousek finished second in the U16 girls category. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Cross Country Yukon hosts classic race

Cross Country Yukon hosted a classic technique cross-country ski race on Jan.… Continue reading

Yukon Premier Sandy Silver talks to media on March 5, 2020. The Yukon government said Jan. 25 that it is disappointed in a decision by the federal government to send the Kudz Ze Kayah mining project back to the drawing board. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Territorial and federal governments at odds over Kudz Ze Kayah mine project

The federal government, backed by Liard First Nation, sent the proposal back to the screening stage

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Jan. 27, 2021

Yukon RCMP said in a press release that they are seeing an increase in tinted front passenger windows and are reminding people that it is illegal and potentially dangerous. (RCMP handout)
RCMP warn against upward trend of tinted windows

Yukon RCMP are seeing more vehicles with tinted front passenger windows, prompting… Continue reading

An arrest warrant has been issued for a 22-year-old man facing two tickets violating the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em>. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Arrest warrant issued for CEMA violation

An arrest warrant has been issued for Ansh Dhawan over two tickets for violating CEMA

The office space at 151 Industrial Road in Marwell. At Whitehorse city council’s Jan. 25 meeting, members voted to sign off on the conditional use approval so Unit 6 at 151 Industrial Rd. can be used for office space. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Marwell move set for land and building services staff

Conditional use, lease approved for office space

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

Most Read