Launch of March 1 Twitter campaign #protectABkids

protectABkids1Informedalbertans has joined with two other organizations, P.R.O. Children Alberta and Parents for Choice in Education, to launch a March 1 Twitter Campaign to advocate for the protection of all Alberta children. Please learn more below and on March 1 please speak up to #protectABkids.

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WHO WE ARE

We are a diverse group of people from across Alberta united in opposition toward:

1.The mandatory requirement that each school board submit policies prior to March 31 that “specifically address the board’s responsibility as it relates to the LGBTQ community,” beyond what is required by existing law.

2. The content and implications of Alberta Education’s “Guidelines for Best Practices: Creating Learning Environments that Respect Diverse Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Gender Expressions”, a document provided to support school boards as they write their own mandated district-specific policies.


WHO WE ARE NOT
We are not transphobes, homophobes, narrow-minded, bigots, misinformed, out-of-touch, anti-LGBTQ, holding back progress, misled, misinformed, fanatics, etc.

None of these labels are conducive to thoughtful discourse and civil, open dialogue.
Please do not use them.


HOW TO GET INVOLVED

1. Activate a twitter account if you don’t already have one (visit twitter.com). For anyone brand new to twitter, see comments section for a quick tutorial.

2. ON MARCH 1, tweet any or all of the following 3 separate messages, preferably between the hours of 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.:

@davideggenAB @RachelNotley Children endangered when parental rights are stripped! http://bit.ly/protectabkids #protectABkids #abed #ableg

@davideggenAB @RachelNotley Respect ALL diversity! http://bit.ly/protectabkids #protectABkids #abed #ableg

@davideggenAB @RachelNotley Safety for ALL students must be a priority! http://bit.ly/protectabkids #protectABkids #abed #ableg

3. If you are on Facebook: please visit and “Like” our public #protectABkids facebook page (near the banner photo) to show your commitment to tweeting on March 1. We will be alerting media a day ahead of our twitter campaign so please get this number as high as possible by Monday Feb 29.

4. Spread the word. Use facebook, post info on blogs, send emails, etc. The more people we unify on March 1 with the same message, the better.

5. Set a reminder for yourself so you do not forget to “tweet” on March 1. 🙂


WHY TWITTER?
This strategy is called “twitterbombing” and happens when many people tweet to the same individuals with the same message on thesame day. It is effective because it is immediate, public, targeted and unified.  It also forces a response.

Imagine it is like everyone sending the same email message to the same people on the same day, but it is public.  The opposition to these guidelines cannot be easily dismissed, minimized or denied.

There are many advocacy tools available that we are already using: letters, emails, rallies, petitions, information sessions, etc. We must continue our advocacy efforts using these methods.

However, Twitter is another tool that has the potential to be an extremely powerful advocacy strategy, in addition to all the other methods. The biggest challenge is spreading the word as quickly as possible because the campaign is only a few days away.That is why we need your help and invite you to forward this information to as many people as possible who may also share our concerns and message.

We are sending our message specifically to “@davideggenAB” and “@RachelNotley and the tweet includes a web link that refers the media and our elected officials to very specific content regarding the “Purpose and Mission” of our platform.

Twitter is unique because:
1. Trends on twitter make news. The media has not yet fully understood the scope of our letters, emails, petitions and meetings. Let’s speak up where they are listening.

2. Public declarations require a public acknowledgement and response from our elected officials. Let’s speak up where they cannot easily dismiss the content and magnitude of our voice.


PROTECTION OF WHO?

We believe the “best practices” being suggested by Alberta Education to include into mandated school board policies across Alberta pose a significant risk of harm to children in our province. We are advocating for a more thoughtful, balanced approach that considers respect for the diversity, safety and well-being of ALL children in our Alberta schools. This includes, but is not limited to, concerns regarding:
– respect for parental involvement
– respect for ALL diversity
– respect for the safety and well-being of all children
To learn more about some widespread concerns Albertans have regarding the guidelines document, please also WATCH A VIDEO PRESENTATION recorded recently on the topic.

 

WHAT ARE WE ASKING FOR? 

1. We request the Minister of Education rescind his mandatory requirement that all school boards develop policies that “specifically address the board’s responsibility as it relates to the LGBTQ community,” beyond what is required by existing law.

2. We request the Minister of Education remove any explicit or implicit pressure or obligation for school boards to adhere to any of the non-binding “best practices” written in the guidelines document.

3. We request the provincial government respect the autonomy and democratic process school boards already have in place to be responsive to the concerns and issues brought forward by the members of the public they represent. Each jurisdiction should be their own best judge of the need, timing and content of any policies, including those specifically addressing LGBTQ students.


WHAT ARE WE PROPOSING INSTEAD?
Instead, the provincial government should ensure all school boards have a policy in place that helps ensure their schools are welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments for ALL students.

Furthermore, instead of insisting that specific accommodations for sexual orientation and gender identity be addressed on a policy level (i.e. pronouns, washroom/change room use, participation in sports teams, etc.), the government should recognize these accommodations are more effectively offered on a case-by-case basis (and often already are). Supports provided should honour the unique situation and context of each student and be made in consultation among all concerned parties, including the student, guardians, school staff and medical professionals.

This proposed approach is consistent with the procedures already existing in schools to provide individualized supports and accommodations to a tremendous variety of emotional, physical, cognitive, social or learning needs that support all vulnerable, at-risk students in our schools every day.


FOR MORE INFO
If you are looking for more information regarding people’s concerns with gender identity and sexual orientation policies in Alberta schools or how you can further respond, please visit the following sites:

www.parentchoice.ca
www.prochildrenalberta.org
https://informedalbertans.wordpress.com/

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4 comments

  1. informedalbertans

    QUICK TWITTER TUTORIAL
    Many people (including myself) are not very familiar with twitter. But it is incredibly easy to use. We know many people who have already said they will sign up for twitter just for this campaign and intend to never use it again. 🙂

    It requires only an email address and a few minutes to sign up. Indeed, the time/inconvenience of signing up for twitter is a small cost compared to the importance and power of our message, especially if we can gather enough people.

    We tried to make it as easy as possible for people to participate on March 1.
    For those brand-new to twitter, all you need to do is:

    1. Go to https://twitter.com/signup?lang=en
    2. Sign up using your name and email
    3. On March 1, sign in to your twitter account and scroll down to look for the icon that looks like a colored square with an egg (on a computer) or a square with a quill pen icon (on a mobile phone browser)
    4. Beside those icons will be a place to type that says “what’s happening?”. That is the space where you will copy and paste each of the 3 tweets from our “Purpose and Mission” information above, doing 1 tweet at a time. We provided 3 different ones and you are welcome to use any or all of them that best reflect your concerns.
    5. Set a reminder somewhere about your commitment to tweet on March 1 so you don’t forget.
    6. All done!

    If you want to learn/read more about twitter, here is a background information link: https://support.twitter.com/articles/215585

    If anyone wants to practice “tweeting” a bit with their new twitter account, they can send a message to myself. Just start your tweet with @informed_ab and type some information. Keep in mind the tweet character limit is 140 characters so it needs to be short.

    You will notice in our tweets we included “hashtags” that begin with the # symbol. Think of hashtags as labels or tags that sort tweets into categories. It then becomes easy to “follow” whatever categories you are most interested in. We created our own category (#protectABkids), as well as using “#abed” (Alberta Education) and “#ableg” (Alberta Legislature) so anyone following these tags will immediately know what we’re doing that day too.

    Let me know if you have any further questions (email: informedalbertans@gmail.com)

    Like

  2. Pingback: Protection… for who? | informed albertans

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