Seventeen Years: The Protest Continues

Rewind to the first weekend in June.

I was called down to review the Shaw Festival’s production of Sweet Charity. We bicycled through the various vineyards of the Niagara region, spent time with both sides of his family and topped it off with the season’s front-running show.  It was an amazing weekend.

As a Torontonian, my life runs on time.

If I’m not doing something I get anxious. But I get even more anxious when something creates a dent in my schedule, thus holding me up. I think we all understand. I’m patient.

Coming back from the weekend away, our bus was held up by some commotion unknown to us on University Avenue. We guessed there was an accident and would have to be patient, but there were voices and chants coming from up the street. It was a protest and I didn’t want to wait. We packed up our electronics, brushed ourselves off and got off the bus. I’m used to being loud and I believe everyone has the right to express their opinions in a peaceful and productive manner, of course. So, we decided to walk home and avoid the disturbance.

It wasn’t until we walked closer to  Dundas that my blood began to boil.

We took guesses at what people would be protesting until the signs became readily clear: they were against the newly revised, 2015 Health and Physical Education curriculum.

Being calm and overtly collected (we make a good balance), he urged that we take the side streets back to avoid chaos at all costs. Normally, I would agree - but this was personal. These people were not only protesting the curriculum, they were protesting our lives, our freedoms and our rights. If they have the right to protest a curriculum that challenges ignorance and educates the twenty-first century, don’t expect me to sit idly by - homosexuality was only recently decriminalized in 1969, let’s not forget.

Grasping his hand, I bolted closer to Yonge Street. Families watched us in silence as we became the new attraction on the sidewalk. I enjoy being a spectacle so this quite naturally fuelled my ego. No one said anything so I could only guess what they were thinking.

The protest took a diversion at Bay Street, heading directly for Queens Park. I didn’t want to go out of our way but I certainly wanted to make a point. My point was made when it came the time to cross the street and break through the never-ending march. Walking through the masses, people stopped with looks of confusion sprawled on their face. There was a mutual understanding in this act of defiance: confusion. My work was done.

After years of undergoing and witnessing peer torment, this curriculum has the power to provide the basis for correct understanding on the sweeping changes occurring throughout our province. Kids are anything but stupid and now they have the tools to an immense amount of knowledge, both dangerous, inaccurate and uncertain.

The internet can be an impactful tool for learning but it can also be destructive.

It was not until grade nine that I received my first cellphone and now students are carrying them as early as grade one. Emergency purposes, I can understand - but their uses extend and distract. The education system is beginning to catch up with the times, but due to the ongoing criticism based on moral and religious obligations, we aren’t quite there yet.


Director: Fifth Year Undergraduate, I/S: History & English

When he’s not frolicking around Toronto or trying to take over the world, you can usually find him swapping paint colors for his condo or picking out new outfits and man purses for his future Pomeranian, Efron.

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