Mixed toilets in schools, expertise in privacy

College philosophy teacher and author, the signatory of these lines recently published On the verge. An exploration of our ordinary fatigues, Park log And stick me.

On Wednesday, I was sitting at my desk when, between two copies to correct, a notification from Duty appeared on the screen of my cell phone informing me that Minister Bernard “Drainville banned[sait] mixed toilets in schools. Curious about the detail, I went to read the article in question, which, in the second paragraph, mentioned that “the elected official did not wait for the opinion of the committee of wise men on gender identity on this question” and recalled , in the following paragraph, that this directive is “in direct line with its opposition to mixed toilets, expressed in September on the basis of its own “expertise in privacy””. In September, I was already upset. There, I “stepped”, as my grandmother would have said.

I would very much like to invite the Minister of Education to my class.

He would learn or revisit important concepts when having to make decisions that have consequences and implications for others. Particularly when we have the duty to ensure that these decisions and the judgments that lead to them are as fair as possible because our role requires it. And his demands it. He is Minister of Education: his power extends over the learning heads of Quebec, heads which come with bodies, and bodies which move and coexist in environments. His responsibility is immense.

In my class, he would learn in particular that thinking well and developing judgment that is autonomous and least likely to cause harm requires reflection with others, whether people involved in the situations, data, experts, theorists. He would also know that it is necessary because we have biases which direct and blur our opinions, that we are (often) wrong, that we have prejudices and that it is notably through the exercise of deliberation, of sincere and generous confrontation of ideas that we can take the pulse of our blind spots and revisit what we believe.

Waiting for the opinion of the committee of “wise men” would have been a minimum here.

He would also have the opportunity to put into perspective the scope of his very personal expertise in intimacy and to understand that it cannot be sufficient to draw valid conclusions. It is a starting point for reflection, necessarily, we always start from what we have, but humility must help us to see that our experience and our understanding of a situation and a phenomenon cannot be worth much. “in oneself”: we must step outside of ourselves, look for what is common to us, yes, but also and above all what escapes us and is different from us, and what people with expertise on the subject say. We must try to see where we are wrong.

Think “in piles”, I said above.

I don’t know the tumult of political life or its demands, but I tell myself that we have the right to hope that the decisions taken there are the result of exemplary rigor. Rigor which does not allow thinking in isolation or presuming that one’s expertise alone is a sure value. If we want Quebec students to have high regard for being able to think carefully, it would be interesting for the person at the top of Education to set an example for them.

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