Alberta Minister promises to protect LGBTQ2S+ students under new Education Act
Published Saturday, June 15, 2019 11:45AM MDT
Last Updated Saturday, June 15, 2019 5:02PM MDT
Alberta’s education minister says the amended school act will protect LGBTQ2S+ students.
After the NDP criticized the UCP’s proposed Bill 8, saying the legislation would out gay kids and expose them to harm, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange issued a statement to clarify “misconceptions.”
The opposition had specifically said the legislation would allow schools to delay the creation of gay-straight alliances and notify parents if their children joined one.
“To be absolutely clear: our government opposes mandatory parental notification of student involvement in inclusion groups, and Alberta will have among the most comprehensive statutory protections for gay-straight alliances (GSAs) in Canada,” LaGrange wrote.
“Once requested by students, creating a GSA is not optional … the Education Act specifically guarantees in legislation that students are entitled to create inclusion groups, including GSAs and QSAs.”
When Bill 8 was tabled, LaGrange said, “In the education act we will have the strongest legislation for protecting our GSA-QSA inclusion groups.”
But in Friday’s statement, the minister said Alberta will have “among the most comprehensive protections.”
NDA MLA Janis Irwin is wondering why the UCP changing the wording.
“My question for the education minister would be, if we had the strongest protections … why change it? Why change the legislation at all?”
In a statement to CTV News Edmonton, the minister’s office said, “Regardless of how it is described, the statutory protections are clear and comprehensive in Bill 8.”
GSAs are student-driven support clubs designed to help LGBTQ2S+ kids feel accepted.
LaGrange said the plan is to have the bill passed and implemented in time for the new school year.
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Timm Bruch