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Parents lobby for public school with feminist slant

'Go grrrl curriculum': Emphasis would be on studies, not boys, at all-girls' school

NATIONAL POST, By Heather Sokoloff, February 12, 2002

* PHOTO * Todd Korol, National Post: Lynne Bosetti, a University of Calgary professor, says her daughter wants to attend the proposed school.

A group of Calgary parents is trying to start an all-girls public school based on a feminist curriculum.

The school would be one of the few girls' public schools in Canada, and parents say they are starting it because they are concerned their daughters are paying more attention to boys than school work.

"We've heard from girls in that age category who have said, 'I don't want to be in a setting where I have to worry about what my hair looks like'," said Liz LoVecchio, a former Calgary school board trustee acting as a spokeswoman for the parents.

Giving girls their own school is the best way to avoid the loss of self-esteem that often occurs when girls reach puberty, said Ms. LoVecchio, herself a graduate of an all-girls private school. Separating girls also removes them from peer pressure to appear girly and docile in front of boys, she added.

The parents are basing their concerns on research from the 1980s and 1990s that showed girls perform better academically in single-gender institutions.

"Girls become very aware of their bodies at that age, and their looks start to worry them. Their confidence goes way down. We are doing this to say to them that doesn't have to happen."

Though common in the private sector, single-sex public schools are a rarity. The Nellie McClung Girls Junior High Program in Edmonton may the the only one in Canada. Founded in 1995 with 70 students, enrolment mushroomed to more than 500 girls this year.

Another girls' public high school in Saint John, N.B. -- believed to be the last in Canada -- closed when it amalgamated with a boys' school about six years ago.

more than 100 Calgary parents have signed the proposal to create a new facility for girls in Grade 4 through Grade 7. Subsequent grades would be added later if the plan is accepted.

According to Alberta law, the plan must first be rejected by the Catholic and public school boards before the minister of Education will consider licensing it as a charter school.

The school founders are also taking the unusual step of proposing that parents and students should have the right to evaluate their teachers.

Though that is likely to outrage teachers' unions, as well as mean the public Calgary Board of Education will have to reject the plan, Ms. LoVecchio said a handful of educators have expressed interest in working at the school.

"They see the time has come for this sort of thing. Certainly parents have been wanting it for a long time, wanting to have a say is who is having influence over their children."

Because there is no religious component, the plan is expected to be rejected by the Catholic school district.

The parents say creating a charter school is the most realistic option, said Ms. LoVecchio.

Though the proposed school intends to replicate the success of girls' private schools, parents say they reject the stodgy image of plaid skirts and cardigans.

Uniforms at the new school, for example, might simply be a fleece vest with the school's yet-to-be determined logo.

"Really, what we want to do is tell the girls they can do whatever they set their minds to do. If they want to be truck driver, then we would want them to get out and be the best darn truck driver they can be. If they want to be an astronaut, go for it," said Ms. LoVecchio.

Classes at the new school will use a program developed by two Arizona researchers called the "Go Grrrl" curriculum. Central to this is a "Grrrls Bill of Rights," which tailors classes to girls by bringing successful female professionals into the classroom to talk about their jobs, teaching history from a woman's perspective, examining the role the media plays in constructing a girl's image of herself and teaching girls the importance of female friendships, said Lynn Bosetti, an education professor at University of Calgary who wants to send her nine-year-old daughter to the school.

"She is just so excited about it. It's all she talks about with her friends. They are excited to have a place where they are going to feel special," Dr. Bosetti said.

In studying early Prairie history, for example, rather than learning that men had all the power because they were elected to government, classes will focus on how mothers, wives and daughters influenced events, said Dr. Bosetti.

"We have an alternative story in women's groups which were often organized around quilting. The groups had an educative function, the women learned about farm safety, they learned about politics, and that's how they influenced their husbands at home."

The only resistance to the plan the parents have encountered so far has come from observers who say boys deserve a school of their own as well. Recent tests show teenaged boys trailing girls in reading, while girls have significantly narrowed the traditional gender gap in math and science.

"This isn't meant to exclude boys. If someone wants to start a boys school, they should do it," said Dr. Bosetti.

Copyright 2002 National Post Online

National Post Online is a Hollinger / CanWest Publication.

TV Show Parental Alienation - The View - Alec Baldwin

The View - Parental Alienation - Alec Baldwin and Jill Egizii - Both Genders Can be Victims

Alec Baldwin talks about his experience with parental alienation. Alec ( 3rd from right) was accompanied by Jill Egizii ( 2nd from right) , president of the Parental Alienation Awareness Organisation (PAAO) and Mike McCormick, president of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children (ACFC). Read More ..

Parental Alienation Syndrome

Landmark Ruling Grants Father Custody of Children

PA News (U.K.), July 3, 2004

A key court decision to grant a father custody of his daughters after the mother flouted contact orders for four years was today welcomed by campaigners.

Fathers 4 Justice said that the High Court ruling was a vital victory and called for more judges to take a similar stance when faced with resistant parents.

The comments come after Mrs Justice Bracewell transferred the residence of two young girls to their father because the mother persistently refused him contact, despite court orders.  Read More ..

National Post

Custody judges rule on vengeance

Courts criticized for recognizing 'parental alienation'

National Post
March 27, 2009

Toronto -- The scope of the courts' reach into family affairs has long been contentious, but a recent trend in Canada's legal system has brought a new controversy that has some onlookers praising judges and others condemning them for accepting what they call "voodoo science."

More than ever before, Canada's judges are recognizing that some children of divorced and warring parents are not simply living an unfortunate predicament, but rather are victims of child abuse and suffering from Parental Alienation Syndrome.   Read More ..

ABC News USA

Psychiatric disorder may have led boy to fatally shoot father

Rick James Lohstroh, a doctor at UTMB, was fatally shot this summer, apparently by his 10-year-old son.

ABC13 Eyewitness News, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
Dec. 29, 2004

The 10-year-old Katy boy accused of murdering his father this summer is now the face of an unofficial psychiatric disorder that may have lead to his father's death.

Some psychiatrists call it Parental Alienation Syndrome and they say that's why the son killed Doctor Rick Lohstroh last summer. The syndrome is basically caused by a bitter parent who poisons a child against the other parent, usually in cases of divorce.  Read More ...

Canadian Bar Association

THE CANADIAN BAR ASSOCIATION
L'ASSOCIATION DU BARREAU CANADIEN

Parental Alienation Syndrome: A 'Hidden' Facet of Custody Disputes

Read More ..

Parental Alienation
Scholarly Paper

Parental Alienation - Myths, Realities & Uncertainties:
A Canadian Study,
1989-2008

May 12, 2009

By Nicholas Bala, Suzanne Hunt & Carrie McCarney
Faculty of Law
Queens University
Kingston, ON Canada

Alienation cases have been receiving a great deal of public and professional attention in the past few months in Canada. As with so many issues in family law, there are two competing, gendered narratives offered to explain these cases.  Men's rights activists claim that mothers alienate children from their fathers as a way of seeking revenge for separation, and argue that judges are gender-biased against fathers in these cases. Feminists tend to dismiss alienation as a fabrication of abusive fathers who are trying to force contact with children who are frightened of them and to control the lives of their abused former partners. While there is some validity to both of these narratives, each also has significant mythical elements. The reality of these cases is often highly complex, with both fathers and mothers bearing significant responsibility for the situation.

Two of the many findings are:

Mothers are twice as likely as fathers to alienate children from the other parent, but this reflects the fact that mothers are more likely to have custody or primary care of their children; in only 2 out of 89 cases was a parent with only access able to alienate a child from the other parent.

Fathers made more than three times as many unsubstantiated claims of parental alienation as mothers, but this too reflects the fact that claims of alienation (substantiated and unsubstantiated) are usually made by access parents, who are usually fathers. Read More ..

The Globe and Mail

Parental alienation cases draining court resources

Study says such cases should be moved out of court system, handled by individual judges

The Globe and Mail
May 13, 2009

An escalation in parental alienation allegations is draining valuable courtroom resources, a major study of 145 alienation cases between 1989-2008 concludes.

"Access problems and alienation cases - especially those which are more severe - take up a disproportionate amount of judicial time and energy," said the study, conducted by Queen's University law professor Nicholas Bala, a respected family law expert.

"One can ask whether the courts should even be trying to deal with these very challenging cases." Read More ..

Journal of Psychosocial Nursing 1994

Parental Alienation Syndrome

A Developmental Analysis of a Vulnerable Population

The American family is changing, and divorce is no small part of the pattern. In the United States, there are nearly a million and a half divorces and annulments annually. It is estimated that 40% to 50% of adults will eventually divorce . Including the indirect effects on family and friends, the impact of divorce has ripple effects not only for those directly involved, but also for society and clinical nursing.

Many children involved in divorce and custody litigation undergo thought reform or mild brainwashing by their parents. This disturbing fact is a product of the nature of divorce and the disintegration of the spousal relationship in our culture. Inevitably, children receive subtly transmitted messages that both parents have serious criticisms of each other. Read More .. ..

Parental Alienation Syndrome

The Fathers Guide: Coping with Parental Alienation

Non-custodial parents often face a continuing dilemma, knowing how to respond to certain mind-programming propaganda that the children receive from the custodial parent. Every reference to the non-custodial parent is couched in negative words: "lazy, irresponsible, un-loving, and cheapskate," to name a few.

The childrens emotions and behavior patterns that result from this negative programming have been officially dubbed by the psychological community as the Parental Alienation Syndrome , and when the parent doing the alienation has full-time access to the children, the consequences can be devastating to the relationship between the child and the other parent. It is also devastating to the child as the child comes to realize that half of who they are, is a product of that "low life" other parent.   Read More ..

Parental Alienation Syndrome

A Developmental Analysis of a Vulnerable Population

The American family is changing, and divorce is no small part of the pattern. In the United States, there are nearly a million and a half divorces and annulments annually. It is estimated that 40% to 50% of adults will eventually divorce . Including the indirect effects on family and friends, the impact of divorce has ripple effects not only for those directly involved, but also for society and clinical nursing.

Many children involved in divorce and custody litigation undergo thought reform or mild brainwashing by their parents. This disturbing fact is a product of the nature of divorce and the disintegration of the spousal relationship in our culture. Inevitably, children receive subtly transmitted messages that both parents have serious criticisms of each other. Read More ..