EDMONTON – Alberta’s education minister says Edmonton Catholic School Board trustees need to “sort themselves out” when it comes to drafting a plan to help LGBTQ students.
David Eggen says the law demands equality for all students, and says board trustees need to do the job they were elected to do.
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Eggen adds that the majority of Albertans want safe learning environments for all students, including those with different gender identities.
“Alberta Education created the guidelines released last week in response to school board requests. They serve as a tool for boards working to submit and implement policies that ensure welcoming, caring and safe schools. Obviously, we are seeing a variety of opinions on these best practices, but I would remind everyone that this is about providing students with a sense of security in their place of learning,” Eggen said in a statement to Global News.
“How an elected board of trustees chooses to communicate with its parents is up to them, but all boards are aware of my expectations around professionalism and decorum in public. We will continue to work actively with all school authorities to build greater understanding and acceptance.”
All 61 school boards are drafting policies that must be submitted to the province by the end of March on how they will protect LGBTQ students.
Calgary’s Catholic Bishop Fred Henry has denounced the plan as heavy-handed and contrary to church teachings.
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In his letter, Henry wrote: “The Alberta Government “Guidelines” issued on January 13th show no evidence of consultation with or sensitivity to the Catholic community.
“They breathe pure secularism.
“This approach and directive smack of the madness of relativism and the forceful imposition of a particular narrow-minded anti-Catholic ideology. Such a totalitarian approach is not in accordance with the Supreme Court of Canada opinion (Loyola) delivered on March 19, 2015 and must be rejected.”
This weekend, the Edmonton Catholic trustees sent Henry’s letter to all parents in their district.
With files from Global News.