Ontario father Eustathios (Steve) Tourloukis was in Superior Court yesterday in Hamilton, where Kathleen Wynne’s Attorney General allegedly argued to take away the father’s parental rights pertaining to the education of his children. I say allegedly because I can find only one source for this information, a blog written by Lee Iacobelli, the chair of Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund (PRIEDF), an organization which is financially supporting Mr. Tourloukis’ court case.
Why is the media so silent? This is a case with ramifications far beyond one father. If Premier Wynne and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (EFTO), who have sought intervenor status in the proceedings, are successful, they will have set the precedent of revoking fundamental parental rights in education!
This is an extremely controversial curriculum. It was controversial in 2010, when it was first introduced by Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government. So controversial that he pulled it, promising not to reintroduce it without parental consultation, much to the chagrin of then-Minister of Education now-Premier Wynne.
It was controversial at the time of its implementation in September 2015, when it was discovered through documents disclosed via a Freedom of Information request that Wynne had lied to the public in her assurance that this curriculum had been revised with input from parental consultation.
It was controversial when the man in charge of the development of the curriculum, former Deputy Minister of Education, Ben Levin, was arrested and convicted on child pornography charges.
It was controversial throughout the school year, as school enrollment plunged. While the government will not admit that the new sex-ed curriculum plays any role in this decrease in enrollment, Wynne certainly seems to feel threatened by it, going so far as to attack homeschooling as outrageous and irresponsible.
And it remains so controversial, in fact, that concessions have been made to parents of students at Thorncliffe Park Public School. (Never mind the obvious bias of the CBC article, which makes the parents’ concerns seem ridiculous — that is for another blog post, another time) Despite Wynne’s previous assertions that she would not back down on this, in May 2016, the Toronto District School Board agreed to offer a “sanitized” version of the sex ed curriculum, in respect to the Muslim beliefs of the school population.
So why won’t Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) allow Mr. Tourloukis to be informed of what and when his children will be exposed to in contravention of his Greek Orthodox beliefs?
The Liberal government is just as full of obfuscation, doubletalk, and outright deception in the area of education as they are in every other scandal-ridden area. Liz Sandals, Minister of Education in September 2015 as the curriculum rolled out, confirmed that parents would be allowed to opt out, stating that “It’s actually in the Education Act that a parent has the right to withdraw their child from content they don’t want their child to receive.” Wynne confirmed that parents had the right to opt-out from objectionable content, although she could not help but place a moral judgment on those who would avail themselves of this right.
So why did Tourloukis have to actually take his school board to court in an effort to get them to comply with the Education Act? And why, when he did, has Wynne’s government prepared a factum stating the intention to have his parental rights to his children’s education revoked?.
Why is this not reported in the mainstream media? Other than Mr. Iacobelli’s blog, you won’t find a word about yesterday’s hearing, presided over by Justice Reid at the Superior Court in Hamilton.
Mr. Tourloukis’ legal counsel, Albertos Polizogopoulis, replied to my email yesterday with the statement that “No decision was issued today. It will likely be several months.”
And if you want to find out what that decision is, you will have to hunt pretty hard for it.