Credits: Toronto District School Board/The Toronto Sun/QMI Agency
TORONTO -- The Toronto District School Board is denying claims it's promoting polygamy -- just illustrating it exists as a family dynamic -- with a poster campaign for gender-based violence prevention.
The school board's website depicts a series of five posters -- one of them has the message "Love has no gender" in big white capital letters. Surrounding the slogan are various hearts containing different stick-figure people. In one of them there is an image of a man with two women; in another, two women with one man.
Some education groups said these posters endorse polygamy and have no place in the public school system.
"This is outrageous behaviour on behalf of teachers," said Rev. Charles McVety of the Canada Christian College, who wants the posters removed immediately if they're in the schools.
"In fact, in some ways these posters are abusive -- psychologically," he insisted. "Now the TDSB has not only decided to teach our children to question their gender, but to indoctrinate them with a sign campaign so children can't get away from it. That is beyond education."
The public school board said these posters were part of the board's "Safe and Positive Spaces" campaign that was launched three years ago. The goal of the campaign was to identify safe, welcoming and inclusive school spaces for all students.
"First, the board does not support polygamy," TDSB spokesman Ryan Bird said Monday. "The images in question were meant to support an individual's right to choose whom they love, regardless of gender. For example, the reason for depicting two women and one man was meant to show that a person can be attracted to more than one gender."
Bird could not confirm whether the posters were placed in elementary or secondary schools. He said the use of the posters was left at to the discretion of each school's administrators.
"Given the length of time since the introduction of the campaign, it would be difficult to determine the exact number of schools that may have them displayed," he said.
Doretta Wilson of Society for Quality Education said the school board is being "overly politically correct" by acknowledging polygamy exists and making sure it's noted on a poster.
"This will certainly be controversial among some parents, particularly religious parents of different faiths, and maybe even those who aren't religious who think this isn't appropriate for young children, who may not understand," she said.