Couple Files BC Human Rights Complaint Against Abbotsford School Board

    VANCOUVER, Oct. 17 /CNW/ - Murray and Peter Corren have filed a human
rights complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal against the Abbotsford
School Board for the its decision to withdraw the Ministry of Education's
elective Social Justice 12 course from its offerings at W. J. Mouat Secondary
School. The Correns had previously reached a human rights complaint settlement
with the BC Ministry of Education in 2006 which resulted in the creation of
the course.
    The couple maintains that over ninety students at the school had
registered for the course in the spring semester, but before it was due to
commence, the Board withdrew the course because some parents had complained
the content covered information about sexual orientation, gender identity,
homophobia, and heterosexism. The parents maintained the course covered
material contrary to their religious beliefs.
    Murray Corren said, "We have waited long enough for the Board to
reconsider its decision, and now we feel the students are entitled to the
learning opportunities afforded by Social Justice 12, as opposed to the
replacement watered-down course offered by the Board. In fact, the students
and their parents were fully aware of the content of Social Justice 12 and
were looking forward to what it had to offer."
    The couple have filed a representative complaint on behalf of students
and parents in the Abbotsford School District claiming, under the BC Human
Rights Act, the Board has denied a service (curriculum) to a group of people
(the students at W. J. Mouat) and that the denial constitutes discrimination
against Abbotsford students and parents, and, in particular, against students
and parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered.
    In its decision in the Surrey School Board case brought to it for the
banning of three children's books depicting same-sex parents, the Supreme
Court of Canada found the Surrey Board had contravened the BC School Act by
allowing the religious beliefs of some parents to interfere with curriculum
offerings in its schools. The Act states that BC schools must be conducted on
strictly secular and non-sectarian principles. The Correns claim the
Abbotsford Board has allowed the religious beliefs of some parents to
determine what may or what may not be taught in its schools and that this is
contrary to the Act.

For further information:

For further information: Murray and Peter Corren, Telephone: (604)

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