Some Inuit side with unhappy teacher


Devastated that his name was published in connection with comments that appeared in Québec Science, beleaguered teacher Alexandre April, 32, now faces a difficult end to the school year in Salluit.

However, many in Salluit support his openness and determination, April said in an interview from Salluit: they tell him they want their children to learn what they need to know in today’s world.

“Some Inuit tell me that they agree we should be teaching the same subjects as in the South ‘if we want our young people to go into the sciences, so they will become technicians, nurses, biologists, doctors and dentists.’ For these careers, they have to have a scientific background, so it’s normal they have instruction about science,’ April said.

But April said his supporters in Salluit are often too scared to speak out in favour of freedom of expression.

A posting on the Nunatsiaq News talk-back web site from a Salluit resident said, “I do believe that we should be able to be taught this [evolution] in school, and it is up to the students to decide if it seems relevant or not… each and every one of us should be able to learn what is taught to see if it is valid to use for us while on this planet.”

April said his students are eager to ask questions and learn about everything, and he has tried to satisfy this curiosity over the past year in Salluit.

However, evolution is just part of what students in Salluit aren’t supposed to be learning. Information about differing religious views and homosexuality were also apparently not welcomed in Ikusik School and classrooms: teachers were discouraged from speaking about other world religions, while posters featuring telephone numbers to help students deal with homosexuality were taken down.

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