hosted by School District

I know that this is a little off topic and I don’t mean to hi-jack the thread.  If someone chooses to do so maybe a new thread could be started.

Stardog’s quote made me think a little about morality and how it has changed and broadened in our society.  Morals, I beleive, were traditionally based on religious values.  However today it is something completely different.  For example, when I went to school we said the lords prayer every moring at the beginning of school. Now, as far as I know, that is more or less frowned upon by many because of the many religious denominations that exists in our modern culture.  When I watched the Seafest parade, I noticed a group called the Prince Rupert Queer Youth Alliance that marched proudly in the parade.  Good for them, I’m happy that they are able to be happy with themselves and who they are. Honestly.  They waved a banner that had a website address on it.  Curious, I checked the site out a few days later.  I was surprised to see that the website is hosted by School District 52. 

This is where it gets weird for me.  It has become politically incorrect to teach the traditional values handed down by generations in our school system yet our school system will openly promote a group that is based on a sexual nature.  Morals have changed.

I believe the change is for the better. I think it has moved from promoting beliefs which are very restrictive, like christianity, to promoting a culture of acceptance and diversity.

Good point.  Although the basis of Christianity provides a solid moral basis in which to live.  Also, something that I struggle with is that if the school has stopped promoting traditional religious beliefs because of broadened religious culture and moral values what about those that struggle with such a rapid expectation for acceptance of alternative sexual lifestyles?  Traditionally these were seen as wrong. 
I, for example,  do not have a problem with gay or lesbian person doing what they want with whoever they want to do it with.  I struggle somewhat with the thought of losing the basic moral values that I, my parents, grandparents and generations before were taught.  What I mean is that I’d like to pass on my own moral values and beliefs to my children, which are quite good I might add, rather than the school system shoving the beliefs of a quickly changing society down my kids throat without me having any control over it.

I teach my children to be good to everyone, I teach them about tolerance and love.  I know that times have changed quickly but I wish that the schools would just get back to teaching the 3 R’s , remain neutral and leave the parents to parenting.

The nice thing about democracy is you can always vote for politicians that share your views.

I try not to vote for politicians that support the use of government money for religious schools (ie: BC Government money for the Catholic school in town).

I did, however, vote for the school trustees that have endorsed the site.  The same trustees have supported other causes too, including ones affiliated with religious groups.

So, you win some, you lose some.  Keep voting.

fighaz, I mean ismellfish, do you support the government giving money to religious schools?

What is neutral?  What you decide is neutral? Or what we, as a democratic society, decide is neutral?

I’m not sure if you recognize it or not, but your basic issue is that your views have moved from being the majority to being the minority.  I know that’s frustrating, but it’s how democracy works.

Sorry for three posts in a row, but I just took a look around the websites and stuff for the local school district.

It appears that the district recently had a Christian minister who was brought to town at taxpayers’ expense as part of a conference.  He was the keynote speaker and gave a bunch of sessions to teachers.

I’m sure you disagree with the school district using a lot of government money to bring a Christian minister to give workshops for teachers, don’t you?

A few questions:

On one hand…
What was the Christian minister doing?  What was the purpose of his visit?  Was it religious in nature?

On the other…
What is the mission of the rupertqya website and the organisation?  What are they promoting exactly?

Of note would be the section regarding sexuality:
“Dr. Brokenleg has been a professor of Native American studies at Augustana College from 1974-2004, teaching Lakota studies, religion, psychology, gender studies, and gay and lesbian identity. He is a recipient of the Orin Lofthus Distinguished Professor Award and the Augustana Faculty Achievement Award.”

I don’t think that the school system is shoving anything down you childeren’s throats, it is merely providing a place in the system for the gay and lesbian population(not that there is anything wrong with that! sorry couldn’t resist) of youth in the communitty. In my opinion, It is making the system all inclusive and promoting awareness, instead of ignorance. This is not stopping you from teaching and passing on the morals which were taught to you.

One thing I find interesting is that there are those out there who think that you can’t have morality without religion.  I don’t buy that for one second.

If you want proof, look no further than Japan.    The culture has traditionally integrated multiple faiths–Shinto, Confucianism, Buddhism, even Christianity in recent years–and nobody has a problem with it.  Yet the strangest thing is, religion plays almost no role whatsoever in people’s daily lives.  Most people never even really think about it.

Yet the Japanese are among the most moral people I can think of.  Crime rates are minuscule compared to the west.  People generally try and treat each other well.  And while it is true that they are not alway accepting of people who are different than themselves, at least they don’t actively try to attack them.

This doesn’t mean Japan is not without its problems.  The pressure to conform can cause a lot of problems for those who don’t want to join the drones.  Bullying in schools has become rampant in recent years.  And they are a bit on the xenophobic side from time to time.

Nevertheless, these things don’t make the Japanese any less “moral” overall than other cultures.  And they’ve managed to do so without any predominant religious influence.

So what can the west learn from this?  I think that, when all is said and done, the most basic moral values transcend all cultures.  Respect one another.  Don’t hurt people.  Don’t take what’s not yours.  Try to help people whenever you can.  You don’t need a priest, or a rabbi, or an imam, or a monk to tell you these things. All you need is a decent moral compass, a little humanity and compassion, and some good old-fashioned common sense.

thats a damn good post. although i grew up somewhat homophobic i have had a change of heart over the last twenty years or so. in the eighties it was hip to hate fags so they all stayed underground, i cant recall knowing even one of them in high school. of course they must have been there, they just knew better back then to expose themselves to a lifetime of teasing and the odd shit-kicking. its nice to see that tolerance and acceptance is what the goal is now.
    and i must add most of the hatred towards queers came from the church, god says its wrong. here’s how the christians view this: they are gay, and god says thats bad, therefore they are evil, so it doesnt matter how we treat them and it doesnt matter if bad things happen to them, they bring this on themselves for fornicating with satan. they are gonna burn in hell, we are merely preheating them. :smiley:. i was raised in a disfuntional christian home, and as such i have developed a deep seated hatred for religion in any form. they are the most intolerant, hypocritical, anal retentive self loving humans you will ever meet.
      if you dont believe me, ask galileo how they treated him, for telling the truth i might add. they set humanity back thousands of years in scientific progress due to them executing anyone who provided evidence proving their holy text false. far from instilling good values they have tolerated the slaughter of any race of people who worship another god. it goes on to this day, billy graham says god is on the their side in iraq. can you believe that? bush has him sell it to them, jesus has ok’ed our war, he must know we need the oil. the slow death of religeous principals are what has let to freedom for the minorities and gays, if the christian values were still hip they would go back in the closet.


Why is it providing something special for the gay and lesbian population?  Why are they supporting a sexual orientated group in a school?

I think that my posts have been taken the wrong way.  I have two basic points:

1.  Morality has changed tremendously in society in a very short time

2.  I would like to teach my children my own values of which I have already stated include love, tolerance and generally being good to people.

I’m not a religious person .  Dont get me wrong.  I do however value what I was taught as a child only a very short time ago.  Like Chris J, I was somewhat homophobic growing up.  I am not now but I am not ready to tell my teenage son that it is ok for him to bring a girl home on Friday and a guy on Saturday.  It’s unfair for society as a whole to expect people to change so dramatically in such a short time. 

Let me re-state something from my first post before you all get your feathers in a tither again…

I think people misunderstood your post, ismellfish.

They probably thought you were saying that you didn’t think the School District should be helping this group establish a website.  You’re not saying that, are you?

For the record, I’m the guy who actually set up the website for them, but I’ll bet you already knew that.

I’m happy to help them out, and I think it’s great we have a queer youth group in our community. 

My opinion is close to ismellfish’s on this issue.  Since I can’t find the mission or purpose of the association anywhere on the website, I assume that it has something to do with promoting tolerance among the population and allowing youth who feel that hiding their sexual preferences is detrimental and who want to live as themselves, to have a support group in town.  Excellent initiative.  Very courageous too, even in 2007.  I truly admire the youth and other people that help the organisation.  They also have a pretty cool looking T-Shirt  :smile:

If the SD 52 was part of a group of organisations who support the PRQYA, then it would be less of an impact.  The fact that it’s the only organisation listed  and that it hosts the website creates the impression that it is a SD 52 initiative.  Other groups in town should voice their support.

But, in my opinion, I consider the PRQYA a special interest group.  The question now is to ask what other special interest groups may want to have the SD 52 host their websites?  The PR Goths?  The PR Jackass fan group?  I don’t know if it’s ismellfish’s point but that’s what I think is difficult to understand. 

I think that SD 52 should issue a statement on the website to explain that it supports the PRQYA initiative within their educational framework.  I know this isn’t what ismellfish would like to see schools doing but this might help him understand the reason for hosting the site.  Bullying for example is probably a concern of both the SD 52 and the PRQYA so some information about that would make the site more “educational.”

The problem with discussing things like this is that some people are very quick to jump to conclusion as to the intent of people asking questions.  I’ve been called homophobic before and, in my opinion, I didn’t do anything to deserve this.  I’ve always thought of myself as more open to  those with homosexual preferences than most people I know but that doesn’t seem to be enough for some people.  There will probably be people reading this thread who will say that I am homophobic even after reading the first paragraph of my message because I dare ask a few questions and make a few comments. 

You can’t win in this situation and I’ve decided that I am comfortable enough with my views on this issue to be able to take part in civil discussion when I want to do it.

Sure, if you convince the democratically elected board, then I’m sure they would.

In fact, I’ve suggested this very thing to various groups and organizations that have approached me to help them set up a website and host it. 

I don’t know if you are aware of this, but Gay Straight Alliances have existed in British Columbia schools for around twenty years.  Prince Rupert is a little slow in moving with the times.  Caledonia Secondary in Terrace has had a version called the “Diversity Club” for 5 or so years, Smithers Secondary has had a GSA for about the same amount of time.  I’m with Big Thumb in applauding the youth who decided to take part in the parade as a way to bring awareness to their community that gay and lesbian youth do indeed exist in Prince Rupert.

Excellent point MiG.  Since the elected board is there to make decision, if they were presented with the idea and approved it then it should be done.  If one doesn’t like that then ask the right questions during the next trustees’ campaign.
I still think that there should be some information about the educational value of promoting tolerance and fighting bullying coming from the district on that website.  People in PR would then know more about the reasons that led the board to approve this initiative.  It’s not always obvious to everyone that gays and lesbians may feel threatened by some actions.  And others, with more “traditional/religious” background might feel threatened by such websites. Openess, information and education are instrumental in creating understanding and allowing diverse opinions. 

That’s a good point Big Thumb.  I’ll get in contact with the teacher that has helped coordinate the group and suggest he put something on the QYA site explaining who and what they are and why the school board and Skeena Health Unit are supporting them.

I am just on a rant everywhere today but there is so much stupidity out there. People need to stop being so sensitive seriously.  I dont think its the best judgment call for the school district to be hosting this site but really who cares?

So long as they aren’t promoting homosexuality on the site I dont have a problem.  Once it crosses the line from promoting tolerance to promoting homosexuality then the site needs to be dropped.

For every one person saying something here, there must be many who read and don’t comment.  That’s tempting for me because I really don’t want to be drawn into some of negativity that can develop in such discussions.  I’ve appreciated something about what everyone has written, and disagreed with a lot too. I’ll try to convey my thoughts here; forgive me if I write alot, but I do not usually comment (as you can tell by my not knowing how to quote in the box properly) and do not want to be misunderstood.

QUOTE from ChrisJ: “i was raised in a disfuntional christian home, and as such i have developed a deep seated hatred for religion in any form. they are the most intolerant, hypocritical, anal retentive self loving humans you will ever meet.”

I recognize ChrisJ’s anger at so-called-religious intolerance (it’s about the opposite of Jesus’ life!!).  Were you refering to particular people you grew up with or religious people in general?  I know as many deeply moral people who are not religious as are. (And by moral I mean loving, tolerant, kind, trying to help others, etc. much like Stardog Champion’s definition: "the most basic moral values transcend all cultures.  Respect one another.  Don’t hurt people. ")  In other words, some of those religious types, perhaps like Dr Martin Brokenleg, are not hypocrites and are going to react to being called that.

However, there are some funny misunderstandings and contradictions with the attack (criticism?) on the qya. For instance, ismellfish wrote: “Like Chris J, I was somewhat homophobic growing up.  I am not now but I am not ready to tell my teenage son that it is ok for him to bring a girl home on Friday and a guy on Saturday.  It’s unfair for society as a whole to expect people to change so dramatically in such a short time.”  I might be concerned if my son brought home a boy one day and a girl the next - I’d ask him how serious he was, whether they knew about each other, and perhaps be concerned he was being promiscuous.  But that’s not about the gender of who he’s bringing home, but about the timing.  ismellfish, you don’t want to be homophobic, which I appreciate; do you mean you would have a problem with your son ‘bringing home’ a boy?  And if you did feel something about it, as many of us who grew up homophobic (very few don’t!), would you have that be your own issue to work out, or would you convey your disapproval to your son?  Your son’s as likely to find himself attracted to a boy as any of us, but less likely to let you know about it (or feel okay about himself) if you aren’t letting him know you don’t think that is wrong.
Regarding society expecting us to change, I think you might be concerned that society is changing - ‘it’ is just us collectively.  Think of the changes wider society expected individuals and communities in the southern states to make since the fifties (civil rights movement).  Many did change, some didn’t but their kids did (and felt more distant from them for the difference).  Its not surprising to read something written by a white southerner in the sixties that is racist, and we can appreciate why they might be that way.  But for their black neighbours to take it, we wouldn’t expect that.  In other words change might be hard, and might have a ‘maximum speed’ for you or any of us, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t change.  Black people in the south (and everwhere) deserved that change (not that it’s complete yet). 

The hundreds of us in Rupert who are parents, students in grade-school, your neighbours, siblings, and cousins, also deserve change.  We are hiding less and less, down on ourselves less and less (though gay teens are still committing suicide far more often than those fitting the straight mold), and some of us are even asking for support in doing the things straight folks take for granted.  If you fear equality, the day (that still may never come) when gay relationships are valued as much as straight ones, then rest assured we’re not there yet.  As far as I know, there are no images in our schools of same sex couples.  Not even the QYA poster dared putting one on (even an email address was considered risky).  But the movie posters, or images of families, will have men and women together (heterosexual relationships).  Any movie at the local theatre, even kid’s movies, will have men and women at least kissing (and great!).

Which brings me to another misunderstanding. The QYA is not a ‘sexual group’ any more than lunch at a highschool cafeteria (well, less so even); it’s a social group.  As chiefdave wrote: “I don’t think that the school system is shoving anything down you childeren’s throats, it is merely providing a place in the system for the gay and lesbian population(not that there is anything wrong with that! sorry couldn’t resist) of youth in the communitty. In my opinion, It is making the system all inclusive and promoting awareness, instead of ignorance. This is not stopping you from teaching and passing on the morals which were taught to you.” 

And if you think this is special interest, okay; perhaps all such special interest groups should apply to the district for site hosting.  Special interest is a charged term we use to say not of wider social importance.  Bird-watching?  Wrestling?  Oh, wait, wrestlers are supported with public space and money (and a good thing).  Except we don’t hear kid’s using the term ‘wrestler’ as a synonym for useless or disgusting.  I don’t think we have a recent history of killing or beating up individuals in our society for being wrestlers.  I’m also pretty sure certain that being a wrestler is a choice, but even most conservative churches, such as the Catholic Church (the Church of my own family) acknowledges same-sex attraction as common; it’s only when you develop intimacy with those who you feel attracted to that they say you commit a sin against God.

Before voting in favour of supporting the QYA, school board members talked about wanting to support our kids in schools, knowing that gay kids are still targeted and have little ‘safe’ space to be themselves with their peers (or anyone else).  The support came with a district regulation to support gay, lesbian, and transgendered students and staff, and went along with Canada’s constitutional commitment to end discrimination against gay, lesbian, and transgendered Canadians. The school district was named on the QYA site when it was set up because they are the technical host.  But the Prince Rupert QYA was already supported by many individuals and organizations including Northern Health, Ministry of Children and Family Development, Prince Rupert Teachers’ Union, Options for Sexual Health (was Planned Parenthood), and the Over the Rainbow Guild.

Thankyou anyone who took the time to read all of this post.  Although we may disagree, I really hope not to have offended anyone.  I know that some people want to argue, but I think sometimes it’s just about understanding what each other are saying.