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Province releases guidelines for schools to create policies to support LGBTQ students
Published Wednesday, January 13, 2016 11:10AM MST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 13, 2016 7:05PM MST
The provincial government released a resource Wednesday meant to help school boards create policies to ensure schools are safe and respectful environments.
The ‘Guidelines for Best Practices: Creating Learning Environments that Respect Divers Sexual Orientations, Gender Expressions and Gender Identities’ was released publicly Wednesday by Education Minister David Eggen.
Minister Eggen said the document is meant to help school officials as they come up with policy to protect students and staff with diverse sexual orientations, gender expressions and gender identities.
The guidelines lay out how students are allowed to dress, play sports and which washrooms they can use. For transgender students, that would be the washroom of their choosing.
“We have pledged to support school boards, as they are required to provide their policies for welcoming, caring, respectful and safe schools by the end of March,” Eggen said in a statement. “These guidelines are designed to aid boards in meeting this requirement.”
The guidelines came after Eggen directed all of Alberta’s school boards to share their policies by March 31, 2016 – school boards have to show evidence of having policy and regulations related to the School Act.
“I think there are still some questions that may not do that, but I do believe the guidelines themselves are really solid and address key issues,” Marni Panas, an LGBTQ advocate, said.
“My wish would be that every single word in that document is adopted, but that’s not how democracy works and we have to have a fulsome discussion,” Edmonton Catholic Schools Board Chair Marilyn Bergstra said. “I’m one vote and everyone is entitled to share their perspectives and opinions and concerns.”
Edmonton Catholic Schools is working on its policy, Bergstra said trustees will look at how best to incorporate the recommendations released Wednesday into that policy.
With files from Danelle Boivin
Alberta Education Minister David Eggen releases provincial guidelines for school boards to come up with policies for inclusive learning environments on Wednesday, January 13, 2016.