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Parental preeminence?

Posted on March 2, 2016 by Taber Times

This is written in reference to “Alberta Education Guidelines for Best Practices: Creating Learning Environments that Respect Diverse Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Gender Expressions.”

Undergirding all deliberations on each school district’s requirement to develop its own document relative to this bill should be the principle of parental preeminence in the rearing of their children. This would include parents being a father and mother, a single parent, blended parentage, sharing parentage, grandparent guardians or other guardians and parents in other contexts and definitions.

Many social agencies have been created to protect children against neglect, abuse in various forms and child abandonment. Hospitals, other health agencies and schools exist to assist parents in the physical, social, educational and mental care of themselves and their children. This is right and good.

Citizens have directed legislators to see that we have the best care from these assisting agencies. We are privileged to live in a province and country that carries out the duties of all of the social bodies listed above in a provident, skilled and caring manner.

However, in all of the help that is available, it is paramount that social agencies regard the preeminence of parents in developing guidelines to assist them in the rearing of their children. Our homes are the foundations, the cornerstones, the bedrocks of our society. When they are weak our nation is weak. No other unit, organization or agency can adequately replace the home in developing responsible, moral and ethical children and families.

For a current and pointed example of what happens to a society when the family breaks down or is broken down, we need only look to the experiences of families whose children attended the dreaded residential schools for our First Nations’ people. Many of their struggles today can be traced back to the generations that were subject to zealous but short-sighted practices that helped destroy the culture of strong and generational families.

I think much of the concern with it is the uncomfortable feeling parents have with some of the stated practices and “Indicators of this best practice in action”that seem to suggest that the school carries the preeminence in educating their children.

Two examples among many from the document illustrate the cause for this uneasiness.

The first has to do with the issue of not revealing to parents the preferred name children have chosen by which they wish to be addressed in school. I do not presume to know the answer. Perhaps the document states the correct approach. My caution is that the decision on this issue be made with the principle of parental preeminence always in mind during any deliberations on this matter.

Another example is “dress codes.” If this suggested practice were followed to the extreme as it well might be, then the clothing that some students would wear and be allowed to wear may impinge on the sexual moral teachings that are taught in the home.

Again, I do not presume to have the answers to this complex issue or the many other complex issues in the document as a whole, but this much I will say. In any decisions made, parental preeminence must be the foremost guiding principle; as a footnote I would also add common sense and trusting our individual experiences that have built a valuable library of wisdom.

At first reading, the document seems to be very objective and free of bias, but after more careful study one senses that it leans towards preferences of those with gender identities different from the traditional “boy/girl” and “man/woman” identities.

As much as one may want to be everything to everybody, it is not possible in real life. We do need to respect and accommodate those with sexual identities different from the traditional identities we are all used to, but we also need to respect and accommodate those with the traditional identities who are by far the huge majority of the population.

RAY SHEEN

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