TORONTO - “Once a Madonna girl always a Madonna girl”. It would seem an obvious conclusion to draw, if the only students at the school are biological females – irrespective of race or ethnic origin.
Some parents prefer to send their daughters to girls only [high] schools because they see them as safe places to grow from girlhood into womanhood. All the better, for them, if the academic environment draws inspiration from a religious icon for which it is named.
They argue that the cultural values these places develop underscore motivational issues (“striving to achieve”) and recognition of goals attained (“women achieving excellence”). Mothers and fathers make these decisions for their daughters. The Law says they know what is best for their offspring.
If you are a “hyper woke evangelical” Director of Education (hello Brendan Browne), who fancies themself the epitome of woke, pronoun-sensitive, transformational leadership such conclusions may be, or are, offensive. There can be no room for the concept of “sisterhood”, even in an all-girls school.
Nor would there be for “brotherhood” in an all-boys school. Such terminology must be eradicated from tradition and usage for fear they may offend the counterculture crowd the Director is proud to advance.
Ditto for any religious rites and rituals associated with attendance at a faith-based school (Catholic). A faith-affirming prayer or performing the sign of the cross may be offensive to a potential non-Catholic in the school, even if the culture of the school may be the motivating reason for her/his attendance. More precisely, it may be the reason their parent(s)chose the school for their girls/boys.
Sometime in February, and order apparently came from the Director’s office that there would no longer be a requirement to stand for prayer or to perform the sign of the cross. Mothers/Alumni at Madonna reacted first with concern then with anger.
So said a parent: “Respect our daughters’ right to be Catholic in a Catholic school”. The Chaplin was “pushed out” and an “Equity and Inclusion” staffer was put in. Gender affirmation in the curriculum became more prominent. Scheduled meetings of the Alumni/PTA club on the matter were repeatedly cancelled by the principal.
Mothers complained that “the[ir] girls now feel intimidated by the climate in the school”. They claim, “that there is now a ‘predator’ trying to transform the girls into non-binary (not heterosexual) graduates”. How do we stop “groomers” from spreading their “stuff” among our girls?
Members of the Alumni/PTA asked, “where is our right to take this off the curriculum?” This political “virtue-signalling” has to stop, they repeat vehemently.
The Mothers have now turned to legal counsel and to political activity to vote out Rizzo. To change the Administration may be a little more difficult. The Superintendent responsible in the meanwhile has ordered the removal of any and all “displays” referencing “women striving for/or achieving excellence”, including T- shirts and paraphernalia that the alumni use to raise funds.
They maintain that their trustee, Maria Rizzo, is unresponsive and is therefore complicit. Corriere Canadese reached out to the TCDSB and administration for clarification on policy decisions and process. Three trustees responded. One referred us to Brendan Browne’s office, the others said, “you won’t get an answer”.
Interestingly, for context, in April of 2022, StatsCan reported the 2021 Census found that only one in 300 Canadians above the age of fifteen self-identified as non heterosexual. In others, words one third of one percent (0.0033%). There are 700 girls in that school. Moreover, for what it is worth, non-Catholics, by law, may attend Catholic high schools upon agreeing to respect the rules for attending – respecting the right of Catholics to practice their faith.
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