PM has attacked a school policy to keep parents informed about their children as far-right but he couldn’t be more wrong.
Jun 13, 2023 – Brian Lilley / Toronto Sun
Parents who want to raise their own children and know what is going on in their lives are “far-right actors” who must be fought, according to Justin Trudeau.
The prime minister took aim recently at a New Brunswick policy that states schools cannot change the names or pronouns of children under the age of 16 without parental consent.
To Trudeau, this is a hateful act driven by extremists targeting transgendered and nonbinary children.
“We have to stand against this. We have to stand up for the freedoms we believe in and continue our work of letting love be louder than hate,” Trudeau said in Toronto last week.
Consider that in order to be absent from school, a child under 16 needs parental permission. For the school to administer medication to a child under 16, they need parental permission. For students of that age to switch schools, sometimes even just switching classes, they need parental permission.
To switch genders, to switch how they describe themselves, there is no need for parental permission and some activists within the school system want to make it so that parents are never notified. They want to go beyond supporting students to engaging in a policy of what happens at school, stays at school.
Schools are adopting guidelines telling teachers and staff not to discuss gender issues with parents or caregivers unless the student gives permission. This applies equally, in the eyes of these school officials, to four-year-old junior kindergarten students as it does to 18-year-olds finishing high school.
The underlying assumption behind all of this is that parents don’t have the right to know and that telling them might put the child in danger. That’s a broad and dangerous assumption that is based on the idea that parents are unaccepting rubes who should be kept in the dark about their own children, unlike the caring and compassionate teachers at school.
You can see that in the claims by Trudeau cabinet ministers that New Brunswick’s new policy will put lives at risk.
There should be no acceptance or excuses for parents who abuse their children but developing a policy to keep parents in the dark about vital information regarding their children on the assumption the parents might be abusive is simply wrong. Governments, or their agents in the school system, are not co-parents, but in adopting these policies, that is the role they are assuming for themselves.
The policy being put forward by New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs doesn’t seek to ban transgendered students, it doesn’t seek to alienate them, it simply says school officials can’t decide to change a child’s gender without involving the parents. This is hardly radical stuff — what is radical is that we have arrived at a point where informing parents about issues relating to their children is considered radical and yet that has quietly and without any public debate become the official policy across much of Canada.
Higgs has responded to Trudeau’s denunciations by saying he is taking a stand for families and seeking balance.
“It’s unfortunate the prime minister wouldn’t look at the big picture and understand that families and parents play a role in the children’s upbringing,” Higgs told reporters last Friday. “All we’re doing here is trying to find that balance, at the same time protecting individual child rights.”
Balance is something that has been missing on this issue.
Parents deserve to know what is happening with their own children. Imagine being a parent dealing with a child at home who is struggling, not knowing the reason why and all the while the school knows, is actively keeping that information from you and encouraging the child to do the same.
That’s the scenario that we are in now.
The pendulum has swung too far, it’s time to seek balance.