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MTS horrifies Montana educator

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One Montana educator is horrified by the prospect of Manitoba’s potentially reflecting sexual orientation and gender identity issues in school curricula.

That’s a proposal going before the annual meeting of the Manitoba Teachers’ Society next week, and if it passes, Education Minister Nancy Allan has said she is open to listening to the teachers’ union.

And before I hear again from one particular less-than-admiring reader, no, you should not assume that I consider the word ‘union’ a pejorative.

Back to today’s topic.

I just received an email which was also copied to several Manitoba Teachers' Society senior players, from Glenn Wehe, an educator working for the Evergreen School District in Kalispell, Montana. While Wehe says he’s not speaking for his employer, he uses his employer’s email and signs the message with his work information.

Here’s some of what Wehe had to say:

"Unfortunately, Manitoba is a little too close to Montana for us to simply laugh out loud at the attempt of MTS to force parents to subject their children to information about an unnatural lifestyle and an unpopular political view.

"At least here in Montana we teach morals and ethics without the need to also teach debauchery and sodomy.

"I am sorry for our Canadian brothers and sisters in the teacher unions to the north, for they are forced to accept standards against their desire to teach the children.  If I were teaching in Canada I most surely would leave the profession out of shame."

Wehe also talks about Canadian society being degraded, about multitudes of Manitobans being opposed to the MTS proposal but driven into anonymity by the fear of retribution from government, and he tosses out the possibility that the abduction and rape of children can be linked to such teachings. He casually uses the most vile and loathesome word in the English language, Nazi.

This comes from an educator who works with children. Various websites list Wehe as technology co-ordinator for his Montana school district, and the newspaper website The Missoulian says Wehe has run unsuccessfully for office. There is no mention on-line that I could find of his being a certified teacher.

Yes, it’s from someone in Montana, but when Manitoba public school teachers consider their executives’ proposal next week, they should keep in mind that Wehe’s type of attitudes are not necessarily confined to him. And maybe some teachers in Montana will hear about what Manitoba is doing, and consider whether their own children could benefit from some of those ideas.

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About Nick Martin

Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.

He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.

Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.

Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.

Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.

Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.

Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.

A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.

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