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The Editor: 

There has been much buzz on social media regarding a radio personality and a meme. This has clearly demonstrated the reach of this gender fluid ideology in our mainstream society. 

The PEI Department of Education has also flown in announcing its intentions of implementing Gender Diversity Guidelines at our public schools this fall. These guidelines will introduce gender fluidity language and as such a sharing of understanding of this entire gender fluid scenario to our school population beginning in our primary grades. It will also lessen gendered expressions within our schools. No more ‘Boys and Girls!’ and affirms a student’s verbal declaration of their subjective sexual identity irregardless of biology. These guidelines promote and support gender ideology by providing room in intimate spaces such as locker rooms for students who feel they are the opposite sex of their birth. 

I believe the public school system, funded by Islanders, should stick to the basics of teaching core subjects and back away from affirming young children’s sexual identities. While I readily acknowledge that the individuals’ feelings are real; they are not factual. Are we actually willing to indoctrinate our young children with this ideology within our public school system? I, for one, feel pretty confident in the science that has been proven and taught for hundreds of years and which also provides the foundation for our medical community to care for us all. So now will we teach unscientific, non-evidenced based curriculum to children?

Let me be clear: If you are an adult and choose to present yourself as a person not as the gender you began your life as ... you certainly have that right. 100%. Your feelings are real and belong to you. In regards to our minor children who are attending a learning facility however, when did truth go out the window for our educational system ? Are we really going to introduce literature and guidelines that are not factual in our schools? The subject matter is controversial at best and is based on the individuals’ feelings rather than scientific, evidence-based facts.

The definition of indoctrination is the process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically. The Department of Education Gender Diversity Guidelines give weight to this gender fluidity ideology as opposed to the value of fact-based proven education along with the teaching of universal good manners. Will we stop teaching science? Why has the Department of Education inserted themselves to uphold this ideology with guidelines that promote malleable gender in our schools? How far will the department go? Will children be able to identify as animals? What are the educational outcomes here for our children? With the addition of more guidance counsellors and child psychiatrists, are we no longer able to meet the needs of the individual students? 

I know there will be arguments for those children who find themselves in this state of identity confusion. They will state that bullying is the driving force behind these new guidelines. Sadly and unfortunately, bullying has been a part of the school system for many decades and knows no limit as to who will fall prey to its harmful barbs. Bullying is not new and not only for those struggling with their sexual identity. If there was an effective remedy to counter bullying in schools, it would have been implemented many years ago. Again, good manners, including being kind and respectful to everyone provides all children a gentler school environment. 

From an operational view, how will teachers regulate these new guidelines? How often will a student be able to alter their subjective gender state? I’m thinking now of school sports. Biological sex takes on a very meaningful distinction in this regard. According to these new guidelines, a student need only to verbally declare what gender they feel they are. Inclusivity utilized this way ignores the rights of those who believe, according to science, that girls differ from boys and vice versa. Where then is the protection and promotion of female sports in these new guidelines? Biology matters. DNA matters. Facts matter. Truth matters.

I do not believe these topics of gender identities should be embedded in our schools. We need to foster and nurture minds who will seek out facts, weigh evidence, and are equipped to make good  discernments. Critical thinkers. Not to be courtiers similar in the children’s book, The Emperor’s New Clothes, where the people are too afraid to offend and want to appear smart while the emperor parades around naked. Our children need a good education, not indoctrination!

The American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry 2021, to name one, states that the frontal cortex of the brain that controls reasoning, that part of the brain which helps you think before you act, and which understands ramifications of decisions is not developed until late teens up to 21 years of age. Teens’ actions are more guided by emotions and they are more likely to act on impulse. Teenagers have a greater propensity to misread social cues and engage in risky behaviour. This information follows, in my opinion, to the critical role teachers and educational facilities and parents have in providing boundaries, safe opportunities, and standard expectations of behaviour. I feel the Department of Education needs to resist efforts to formally change policy based on young children and teens’ individual feelings and personal choices that affect all minor students at our schools.

These new guidelines are not age appropriate and do not contain content that should be shared without parental consent. They do not counter bullying and I believe will only further separate student bodies. These guidelines infringe on women’s rights and are not universally accepted teachings. They eliminate the role of families in shaping the morals they want to instill in their children. I am not sure how our Minister of Education, who also wears the hat of being the minister of the Status of Women reconciles these new gender diversity guidelines in both forums.    

With approximately a third of our public education school system graduates exiting with difficulties in literacy and numeracy skills, I believe the Department of Education has enough on their plate. I simply do not support the Department of Education in these new Gender Diversity Guidelines. It is polarizing as we witnessed in East Wiltshire. It is politically charged. Why would our public education system walk into this maze of moral preference vs gender identity vs science? This subject content does not belong within the walls of our schools, laid at the feet of our minor children.

I would encourage people to email our Minister of Education and our premier with your concerns in this matter. 

Patty van Diepen,

Green Meadows, PE

Concerned citizen and parent

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