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Ottawa Catholic School Could Reverse Ban on Gay Rights Project

Ottawa Catholic School Could Reverse Ban on Gay Rights Project

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Two Ottawa sixth-graders were barred from doing a social justice project on gay rights. The school board is reportedly reconsidering that decision.

Is a Canadian principal getting schooled on social justice principles? A decision to bar a project on LGBT rights could be reversed.

When two sixth-grade girls at St. George Catholic School in Ottawa were charged with completing a project for a Social Justice Fair, they wanted to focus on gay rights. When the principal put the kibosh on that topic, the mother of one of the students pointed out the obvious irony.

"They've learned more about social justice in a week than they ever could have by doing a project. It's been very real for them," Ann Maloney told the Ottawa Citizen. Maloney said the principal expressed concern about the age-appropriateness of the topic as well as possible reactions from anti-LGBT parents.

The Citizen reports that the principal's decision is now under scrutiny from the school board, with board chairman Ted Hurley saying the principal's concerns were solely about age-appropriateness and not about the proposed topic itself.

According to the Citizen, Hurley plans to invite the two students, Quinn Maloney-Tavares and Polly Hamilton, and their parents to a meeting to discuss the project. Presumably they'll have to reach a decision soon ,as the Social Justice Fair is slated for January. The Citizenran an editorial that skewered the school's assertions that the project raised any red flags regarding age-appropriateness at a fair for fourth- to sixth-graders. Here's an excerpt:

"The idea that gay rights is a topic inappropriate for Grade 4 and 5 students is a puzzler. What does that say to the students of that age with same-sex parents? The idea that a child too young for the birds-and-bees talk can't understand that Daddy loves Daddy makes no more sense than saying a child can't understand that Mommy loves Daddy. It's ludicrous and a reflection of old, bigoted attitudes. It's a pernicious idea that to talk about gay people's civil rights in a 'social justice' context involves talk of 'sexuality,' while talk of straight people's civil rights does not."

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