what it perceives, on eminently reasonable grounds, to be a very
real risk of harm.
[ 38] I agree with the Board’s submission that E.T.’s list of
objectionable topics set out in the standard PEACE form, which
includes items such as “moral relativism” and “environmental
worship”, is so broad and ill-defined that it would be impossible
for the Board to determine in advance when a lesson or activity
might result in exposure to a “false teaching”.
[ 39] The problem of providing advance notice to the appellant
in accordance with his request is further compounded by the
integrated nature of the Board’s curriculum. Discussion of topics
such as, for example, same-sex parenting does not arise in a specific, discrete class or lesson. It is part of the daily lived experience of some schoolchildren and, as such, discussion of it might
arise at any point in any class, in ways that could not be predicted
in advance. As the application judge found, at para. 96, the list
of objectionable subject matter identified by E.T. was extensive
and “[ i]t would be extremely difficult for teachers to be sufficiently familiar with the variety of concerns raised by parents
for individual students so as to advise in advance of their mention in lessons”. As pointed out by the intervenor Elementary
Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, it would be unrealistic to expect
teachers to anticipate discussions of all such subjects in class
and to vet all teaching materials in search of any endorsement of
family structures, relationships or other matters that are contrary to E. T.’s subjective view of biblical teaching, particularly as
E. T.’s list includes such nebulous topics as “moral relativism”.
[ 40] E.T. cannot, by virtue of his religious beliefs, insist that
a non-denominational public school board restructure its inclusive and integrated program, designed to meet its statutory
objective of ensuring a respectful and accepting climate for all
children, so that he can ensure that his own children are not
exposed to any views that he does not accept. Nor do I accept
E.T.’s suggestion that the Board could or should ensure that
discussion of matters such as sexual orientation and gender
identity are discussed purely as matters of fact rather than as
matters of “value judgment”. The Board has a statutory mandate to provide an inclusive and tolerant educational environment, one that respects the principles of equality enshrined in
s. 15 of the Charter. Equality, inclusivity and acceptance of difference are values, not facts, and it is unrealistic to expect
teachers to provide a learning environment that is truly welcoming to all students in a value-free manner.