Another School Board Takes a Giant Step into the 21st Century

Yesterday, the St. Albert public school board voted to draft a policy on gender identity and sexual orientation. Yay! They are following the lead of the Edmonton Public School Board which happens to be the first and only in Alberta to have such a policy. See, this is the thing, people talk all the time about how backward Alberta is and yet in so many ways, it's so not true. Whenever I say that, people throw Bill 44 in my face. Okay, Bill 44 is stupid, unnecessary and truly morally reprehensible but the thing to remember is that it was our provincial government that passed that stupid bill, it was never voted on by the public. They did Bill 44 to try to pacify some vocal minorities that were pissed off about the addition of orientation to the Alberta Human Right Act. I'm not saying it was okay, it most certainly was not, all I'm saying is that I don't believe most Albertans supported that bill. In fact, the ATA opposed it and so did most teachers individually.

What public school teachers and administrators are doing in Alberta is something quite other than what they are doing in the legislature. The Edmonton Public School Board voted for, drafted and approved a policy specifically addressing their views on queer issues and how transgendered, gender queer and queer and questioning students are to be treated in schools. Their particular concern in this was to make sure that all students, but in particular queer and gender-queer students who are often the object of violence and bullying, are safe and supported in schools.

They not only went and ahead and did this, but they also then went to other school boards across the provinces and encouraged them to use their template and follow their example. Pretty cool, I think. Now St. Albert has taken them up on it.

Sure a written policy isn't the answer to all the problems within the school system but it's a major step in the right direction. It makes it clear to LGBTQQ students and their friends and families that they are supported by the school board and it gives them all some recourse when they aren't treated with respect and dignity. It can only help.

Good on you, St. Albert public school board.

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