[Ottawa, ON] According to an article in the Ottawa Citizen updated on 28 October 2019, the largest school board in Ottawa intends to give a survey from grades K-12 that will ask for information about student ethnicity, religion, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Such information is collected by Statistics Canada on the official census every 5 years by law. The collected information is considered protected and only released for general statistical use. The interesting thing here is that the statistical analysis the school board wants can be obtained through other more official channels. This makes me think that something else is going on.
Apart from the veileled excuse that they reportedly are using of how to track these trends in their schools to make a “safer” experience and to “reduce bullying” on their students, it is the considered opinion of this author that if they want this information, they should be trying to obtain it through Statistics Canada instead of the legally questionable means of a student survey. It also may increase bullying among students, good intentions aside.
My question is really one of legal consent. The age of legal consent for release of the kind of information for which they will be asking in Canada is ostensibly 18 years of age. Before that age, that authority rests with the parent or guardian of the child. Though it could be debated that this age is too high, that is not at present the case.
It is the opinion of this author that this information is being asked for is to create an atmosphere dedicated to Intersectionality and Critical Race Theory. One of the worst-kept secrets of Ontario school boards is the socialist nature of those in control of the direction of the board, after all. What other reason would you ask a 5-year-old about their gender identity? They are just as likely to tell you they are a chicken nugget as give the survey information that can be misconstrued, and that can now be attached to a permanent record that will follow the child through school. Now think about how that information can be used to discriminate against all families.
Despite assurances that such thing could never happen, it is my contention that it already has. When I was 5 years old, the lady inspector that did not like my father (which I can understand – he was abusive to my family while we were growing up) attempted to tell the school board that I was “mentally retarded” and that I should be placed in the Special Education class with other low-IQ students. My father naturally appealed, and my IQ was officially measured at genius level, and I was placed accordingly in accelerated classes. If my father had not appealed, I personally wonder what would have happened.
Today, we live in a culture of experts, and to have a different opinion than the experts is to court ostracism, opposition, and even public shaming at the hands of these so-called experts. Worse, these experts are employed by agencies that have the power to remove your children from your home if they feel you are some kind of danger to your kids. I have personally had to deal with overzealous school officials that have reported my family to childrens’ aid four times over 6 years. I happen to know THAT sticks around on your kids permanent record. That pressure was once multiplied because the first anonymous call was 3 weeks after I had a heart attack. It was the beginning of December. Merry Christmas, right?
As far as my kids go, I did tell them that they don’t have to answer those surveys, but they shared a different idea. For race, my 17-year-old son’s answer will be something like “speedboat.” For my 15-year-old daughter, a fan of the show The Office, her answers gave me the biggest belly laugh. Her race? Dunder-Mifflin. Her religion? Paper company. Her gender preference? Jim from The Office. Sexual Orientation? Three-hole punch. Say what you will, my kids at least have a sense of humour.
I hope the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board rethink its legally questionable idea of a K-12 survey to ask for information they can get through other means.