Alberta’s Education Minister, David Eggen, posted an open letter to Alberta students, reiterating the Minister’s stated declaration that all school boards would be in compliance with Bill 10 and the gender-affirmation guidelines:
A few weeks from now, you and thousands of other Alberta students will head back to class. And when you do, you have rights that your schools will respect.
You have the right to feel safe and welcome at school.
You have the right to create a Gay-Straight Alliance or a Queer-Straight Alliance, and you have the right to name your clubs this way.
You have the right to use the washroom that is consistent with your gender identity. I want you to know that I will support each and every one of you. Together, we will make sure that the rights you have, and the policies your school boards have worked on, are being lived out in your schools.
As Minister of Education, I have been working with your school boards to make sure that our schools are welcoming and caring. All boards have created new policies to support LGBTQ students and they will now come to life in your schools.
In the coming weeks, Alberta Education will be promoting new resources to make sure that schools are safe and welcoming. You can also reach out directly to my staff, who can help you ensure your rights are being respected, at email@example.com.
As we stand together, let’s embrace the differences in one another.
We will all be better for it in the long run.
And remember: I’m with you one hundred per cent.
David Eggen, Minister of Education
I have criticized the NDP for doing a lot of ideological grandstanding with very little in the way of substantive change. After months of lobbying from reactionary groups (most of which are Catholic affiliated), the Minister releases this statement once again holding firm that no school board, Catholic or public, will be permitted to antagonize Queer students. And it’s worth noting that while the reactionary groups complaining loudly are mostly religious, the local trans community has reported antagonism from public school board administrators as well.
I suppose moving forward I’ll wait a couple months to actually see it in action. I want to see consequences for administrators who bully Queer youth before I believe the NDP’s intentions to be genuine.
And yes, I’m still writing and meeting and speaking with my MLA to write Catholic conscience exemptions out of law. Somehow I doubt that particular agenda will get anywhere. But at least by going to the forums, asking the question in front of everyone, writing in, and making meetings with MLAs and supporting staff, they are aware that some of their voting base would really like to see all public services governed by… you know, public law.
Radical idea, I know.
Edit August 17: Fixed formatting glitch.