The president of BelizeCan, Patrick Menzies, has been on a crusade against the 2013 Revised National Gender Policy. After failing to get the attention of Government by various means, he has hit upon the idea of a voluntary school boycott. He explained via telephone on Thursday.
Mr. Patrick Menzies- President of Belize Can
“Everything we have sheared with the Government, we got no response, so, because Paragraph 4.2 of the Gender Policy states that they’ll be using the kids; they’ll be using the children, so, the boys and girls are the principal ingredients that they will be used in the change of society and change future generation. Because that is what the will be doing, we will ask the boys and the girls to get out of the school because that is exactly what they will be using. And so, hence, we decided to use the exact same system the government wants to use to destroy the kids. What we are saying, because our children are not a heritage of the government, they are not a heritage of the Minister. They are a heritage from the Lord to their parents, we are therefore asking the parents to not send the kids to school, to boycott the school for the next few days while we get Minister Faber to respond and to look at the issue and to give it in writing that they will not be using the HFLE Manual in the schools, which, again, the Gender Policy has brought back. So, they will not be changing the curriculum which the Gender Policy says they will, that they will not be creating mechanisms or laws to be able to protect homosexuality in the schools which the Gender Policy says they will. So, all these things, and there is many more; and you can get a copy of that again, also in the website, but there are many issues that deal with education that are coming down the pipe, and that they are starting to do. And, therefore, we’ve asked the parents to voluntarily withdraw the kids from the school until we can come to some type of agreement with the Minister”.
According to Patrick Menzies this is a voluntary effort and will not involve teachers.
“We did not reach out to educators because it is not their job to be worried about what to teach. I actually made an attempt to meet with the actual Teacher’s Union, but I have not been able to. But we are now pushing for the parents to do their job. They are the ones responsible for their kids, not their teachers. And so, yes, we reached out for parents. I guarantee there is over 1,000 kids right now that will speak to you from Punta Gorda to Corozal and from the islands to Benque. They are out of school because of this, and we’ve been talking to people everyday (we’re sending a text as I speak to you). People are calling, “We agree with you, but we are 100% on board. Our kids are out of school”. So, that is what is happening”.
But how does Mr Menzies justify asking kids to stay home from school? He told us that it’s about the future.
“Well, you know, I am glad you made it sure that way. The reality is on the ground. You see, whenever the teachers did a strike in Orange Walk, everything was okay because teachers want their money. Then they can try on and the kids catch up, but whenever the kids are on strike, then that’s a problem. You see, we are such a backward society that we see things too negatively. If the teachers can strike, and that is blessed because they want their money, then, why can’t the parents strike because they do not want their kids to be taught stuff that’s against their principles? And yes, kids will be losing quality education. But do you know something? Many of the parents; their agreement is this, we prefer our kids to lose quality education and have to even repeat a year if that’s what it takes or a few weeks, but have a sane mind than from the ego that is coming down the pipe.”
We were not able to reach the Ministry of Education for comment.