Teacher's comments on homosexuality rile Sackville mother

A New Brunswick mother is raising concerns after hearing her daughter was told by a Grade 7 health teacher that being homosexual is a choice.

Karen Valanne says she took her complaints to the principal at Marshview Middle School

A New Brunswick mother is raising concerns after hearing her daughter was told by a Grade 7 health teacher that being homosexual is a choice.

Karen Valanne says she got upset when her daughter told her a teacher at Marshview Middle School in Sackville told a class that homosexuality is a choice. (Courtesy of Department of Education)
Karen Valanne, a mother of four, says she took her concerns to the principal of Marshview Middle School in Sackville.

"They're at a very impressionable age and she's in a position of authority. And if they're struggling or questioning, she's basically telling them they've made this choice," Valanne told CBC's Shift on Thursday.

"So if they're feeling any guilt or shame over anything and they're being told it's their fault, I think she has the potential to do a lot of damage," she said.

Valanne says the principal told her teachers are expected to keep their personal opinions to themselves and that the teacher would revisit the issue with the class.

But Valanne says the teacher only apologized if people were offended by her opinion.

CBC requested an interview with Anglophone East School District officials and received an emailed statement from Stephanie Patterson, the community engagement co-ordinator for the district. 

"If a concern is brought to our attention regarding the decorum of a teacher, it is taken very seriously and followed up on as appropriate," Patterson wrote.

"While we cannot comment on any personnel issue, the Anglophone East School District provides extensive training and specific curriculum to our educators who teach the Human Growth and Development component of the Health curriculum.

"During this training, teachers are instructed that their personal opinions are not to be shared and only the facts are to be presented to the students," she said.

"ASD-E strives to make our schools positive and inclusive learning environments for all of our students and staff regardless of and respectful to all identities."

Valanne says she plans to follow up by writing letters to the principal and the superintendent.