The Politigayly Correct Principal

WIARTON, Ontario, October 21, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – 16-year-old high school student Jennifer Rankin fully intended to unite her voicelessness with that of the unborn as part of the annual Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity when she arrived at school yesterday, reports Bill Henry of Sun Media.

She was impeded, however, by her school principal, who stated that the right to free speech does not apply on school property and who forced Rankin to remain in isolation for the entire day as long as she participated in the event.

During the annual Day of Silent Solidarity international campaign, which is organized by Stand True Ministries, students don red bands on their arms and red duct tape on their mouths, remaining silent while passing out fliers about the atrocity of abortion.

Rankin, 16, arrived at Peninsula Shores District School in Wiarton, Ontario yesterday morning, with the red tape over her mouth and with the simple word ‘life’ written upon it.  She and her mother were stopped at the door, however, by school principal Patricia Cavan, while police cruisers stood nearby.  Cavan initially told Rankin that she could not enter school property, but then consented to allowing her in the building, separated from other students.

“I was taken directly into a small room that was opposite the vice-principal’s office and I was in there all day,” Rankin told Sun Media.  “I wasn’t allowed to speak with or see any other students and students were not allowed to come and see me and I was isolated in that room for the entire day.”

While Cavan had informed students in advance that their pro-life witness would not be allowed, Rankin insists that her Charter right to free expression was infringed.  “I felt very discriminated by it,” she said.  “I don’t think it was right at all what happened.”

Several students had joined her in the event last year, but this time Rankin was alone.  “I think a lot of people got scared and backed out,” she said. “I would like to have the ability to correct this. I don’t think it should be just left alone.”

The youth pastor at Rankin’s church, Ken Holley, expressed disappointment and insisted that the school’s actions violated her rights.  “It’s a day of silence and basically they lose their voice for those that never had a voice,” he said. “It’s pro-life. There’s no arguing. They can’t talk all day. They just stay silent and if anybody asks why they’re silent they hand out a little sheet that says this is why.”

“I guess I am disappointed that they’re not allowed to have a voice, or not have a voice, actually,” he said.

Cavan, who did not return a message left by LifeSiteNews.com, told Sun Media that the right to free speech does not apply on school property.  “School property is not a public place,” she said. “So while absolutely we support the right to free speech in a public space, that’s not school property.”  She said that school policy prohibits the dissemination of one-sided information on religious, political, or other issues that are controversial.

Pastor Holley pointed out that the school does an annual ‘Gay Pride’ day “where everybody wears pink shirts,” and that the school allows nude pictures on the wall to stand as ‘art’.  “My students have to go to school and deal with that,” he said, “and as soon as they try to stand up for anything, it’s like, well, just be quiet, go home. I don’t think that’s right.”

Cavan maintains that the ‘Gay Pride’ event is a different issue because it is about fighting homophobia and supporting rights guaranteed in the Charter.  Jennifer Rankin’s cause, however, “is not an issue under human rights,” Cavan said.  “It’s an ethical/moral decision and everyone has the right to their view, absolutely. And I commend the students for their personal views and their desire to share their beliefs. I just want to assure that every student feels supported when those beliefs are shared.”

Mary-Ellen Douglas of Campaign Life Coalition expressed dismay that the school shut down Rankin’s message.  “You would think a school, as a facility of education, would be the place where free speech would flourish, not the opposite,” she said.  Regarding the school’s ‘Gay Pride’ day, she said, “There’s only one side on that one, I guess, too, eh?  They’re just trying to make sure that the truth doesn’t get out.”

David Cortman, senior legal counsel with the Alliance Defence Fund, told LSN that “the school should be ashamed of its hypocrisy.”

“On the one hand, the school first of all is apparently picking and choosing which parts of the Charter that it wants to comply with,” he said.  “It hides behind the Charter to justify its blatant promotion of the homosexual agenda, while at the same time it ignores the students’ rights to free expression under the Charter.”

“In my opinion, the policy and their actions, violate the Charter,” he continued.  “If homosexual behaviour is a human right, even more so is life itself a human right. … I think it’s just another instance of government indoctrination that’s aimed at the suppression of religious speech.”


Ms. Cavan,

School property is not public space?  It’s a space provided to you to do your job on the taxpayer’s dime, Ms. Cavan. That means that you are answerable to the people of Canada and to the taxpayers of your municipality.  You have no right to limit the freedom of expression for those who oppose abortion, while not only teaching students to promote sodomy, but actually endorsing and setting aside a day to do it on behalf of the School.   The school is not private property. If it were, the School Board wouldn’t be getting our tax revenue. The fact that I have to explain this very basic reality to you is, needless to say, rather troubling.

And if you want to talk about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it doesn’t guarantee anything about sexual behaviour:

 S. 15 (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

On the other hand, the Charter most certainly guarantees freedom of conscience and religion and thought, belief, opinion, and expression. In fact, these two freedoms are included FIRST in the section called FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS in order to ensure that everyone understands that all other freedoms are built on these ones:

S. 2

Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

(a) freedom of conscience and religion;

(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

(d) freedom of association.

It is thoroughly hypocritical to officially propagandize for “gay day” while concurrently denying the inalienable right to freely advocate for the most basic right that exists: the right to life.  The school system, and your school in particular, have apparently become a breeding ground for radical social engineering which seeks to promote sodomy while refusing to even recognize the right to conscientious objection by its students.

Your policy is even worse than arbitrary.  It’s shamelessly partisan and political. Far from trying to avoid, as you claim,  “one-sided information on religious, political, or other issues that are controversial“, you have only exposed yourself to doing just that in institutionalizing the promotion of homosexual behaviour while banning criticism of it or the promotion of an opposing life ethic. 

Do you not see the irony in your statement? 

Be true to what you are there to do as a teacher and let the exchange of ideas begin.  Otherwise, don’t call it a school. Call it a programming centre.

John Pacheco

Social Conservatives United

7 thoughts on “The Politigayly Correct Principal

  1. ( This is a copy of a letter that I left for Jennifer on her Facebook group about this issue)

    Jennifer,

    I commend your efforts with raising awareness about abortions and your point of view being ” Pro Life “; however, as a parent of a child at your school I personally am very offended that you ever believed that the age of the students witnessing your protest, the time of day and the location where your protest was held; was in anyway appropriate.

    Your actions were carried out while children from the public school side were being dropped off for the school day. As a parent, I feel like you have violated the rights and safety of every child in this school, by having a protest on school grounds that in no way pertained to PSDS.

    I was witness to the entire event and I also believe that Ms. Cavan did exactly what she had to as a principal to protect the rights and safety of every child in that school, by secluding you. In all fairness, you were warned that your protest would not be tolerated and yet you did it anyhow… so you knew right away that their would be consequences for your actions.

    Good for you though for standing up for what you believe in… I truly do commend your efforts and your beliefs; however, shame on you for feeling like you had more rights than any other student in the school on this day.

    Protesting outside of an abortion clinic, hospitals who perform abortions or even Queen’s Park would draw far more positive and location appropriate results, than protesting at a rural public and high school.

    Why should any parent at this school be forced to now explain abortion to their child or children because of you? This is clearly not an age appropriate discussion, so why you chose to pursue your protest and infringe upon this right for any parent at this school, is beyond me.

    While witnessing this event personally, I observed a group of 15 – 20 students watching you right inside of the high school entrance and I for one am very happy that Ms. Cavan chose to defuse that situation by removing you from the student body and bringing you in a side door; therefore avoiding the crowd and any possible negative situation.

    Your issue of abortion is one that can and has incited hatred and anger world wide for decades and you clearly should have recognized this danger for the other students at the school, if for no other reason than to protect the public school students from observing any possible issues that could arise during even the most peaceful of protests.

    I also debated this issue in school, but it pertained to a class appropriate debate and it ended when the class ended. Personal beliefs did not flood into the halls and they were not portrayed on students bodies or onto the student body.

    There will be young women in your school who have been and who will be faced with this issue and your protest would make any one of them feel attacked right now. School is meant to be free from discrimination and hatred… However, your protest did not pertain in anyway to the school… it was an organized religious protest; therefore, it did not infringe on any right of yours at the school.

    Freedom of speech is not included when it attacks others beliefs; goes against school policy and infringes on the safety and rights of the other students at the school.

    The issue of Abortion being right or wrong no longer exists in your case; the only thing people are seeing is you protesting an issue that was clearly disruptive to the entire student body and in no way pertained to anything directly or indirectly with the school. This is not something that you have the right to do; disrupt a school day, which will affect hundreds of students to express your opinion.

    You clearly did not respect the wishes of your principal or the safety or rights of the other public or high school students at your school on this day; however, your youth and opinions are valued … you just need to find that even balance that does not infringe on anyone else’s rights and in an age appropriate location that pertains to the issue you are fighting for.

    Sincerely,

    Cherie Peattie

    ( mother to a Grade 1 student at PSDS )

  2. Bravo to Jennifer!!!! I am with you 100%. You did right.

    I can appreciate what this mother is saying, but she is wrong. She is only trying to protect her Gr 1 child.

    Abortion is wrong and every child will have to deal with it at some time so start teaching them young about the absolute beauty of life at it’s beginning where we once all were, and the need to protect the most defenceless members of Canada

  3. When any person attempts to justify their actions at the expense of any child to prove their point or to support your cause, then you are in the wrong; … not justified!

  4. Apparently Cherie has no problem with the School itself using children to advance its pro-sodomy propaganda by placing nude pictures on the walls, but has a problem with a silent witness to unborn life?

    That’s rich.

  5. I am a Christian and pro life however I do not want our schools becoming a political circus with students showing up and protesting everything from seal hunt to global warming. And than, the administrator has the hypocrisy promoting gay pride and pornography in the school ! On the same grounds that the pro life person should not be allowed to protest, the gay pride day that was implemented in our schools should be abolished. Obviously an unchristian agenda is being pushed on us. Rember any success is due to Christian values and that pulling up on society’s standards.

  6. The fundamental freedoms are stated in part 2 of the charter.

    This is part 1

    ” 1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. ”

    The reasonable limits that are mentioned in this section are set out in the federal Criminal Code of Canada and the provincial Education Act, to begin with, and there are others I’m sure.

    “S. 15 (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination…”

    It is pretty clear to me that “every individual” in this section would include sexual orientation, regardless of whether or not the rest of this section lists it as one of the particulars. It doesn’t list hair length, height, or vegetarians…am I to assume that the bald, 6’9″, soy dog eating folks are not as deserving as I am to equal protection and equal benefit?

    The Ministry of Education website sets out the course of action that they are taking to combat homophobia. To change this action I would suggest you take it up with the Minister, not the principal of a small school in Wiarton.

    This issue is not about whether or not abortion should be legal. It is about whether protests are allowable on school property. It is about giving a principal the opportunity to do her job, which, by law, requires her to maintain a safe learning and working environment for the students and staff.

    I believe that there are too many emotions involved in a protest about abortion for it to be allowed in a school and adolescent brains are not ready to deal with such a complex issue.

    I don’t believe that the police cars where there to haul the protesting student away. I didn’t read that she was threatened with arrest. I believe they were there in case the behaviour of other students, upset by the protest, became out of control. I believe she was isolated to protect her from outbursts of other students.

    An opportunity to debate this issue was offered, to be safely moderated by the teachers. This is absolutely acceptable and should be pursued.

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