Calgary Board of Education (CBE) has submitted their required sexual orientation and gender identity policies to Alberta Education and thousands of Calgarians are concerned how these policies will impact children in their schools.
Over 4800 parents and electors have signed a petition to force a public meeting, according to specific provisions outlined in the School Act. This number far exceeds the required 2000 signatures, proving by their numbers that their concerns should not be easily dismissed by Calgary Board of Education trustees.
However, even though the school board is required to hold a public meeting and allow a committee to be formed for public input, it does not require CBE to actually implement any of the committee’s recommendations.
CBE must keep in mind that Minister Eggen has referred to Alberta Education’s Guidelines as a “resource”, stating clearly in his public letter that “each school community is unique and that school authorities are in the best position to create policies that will work for their students, staff and families. In addition to consulting the guidelines, school authorities are encouraged to engage with their communities as they seek to align their policies and procedures with legislation and with their own local context.”
School board trustees are democratically elected by voters during municipal elections and they are accountable to represent all members of the public in their jurisdiction, whether those citizens have children in school or not. This is because all members of the public are viewed as stakeholders when it comes to a publically funded education system.
If you are a Calgary voter, or a CBE parent, it is absolutely vital to be informed regarding new policies that will impact your schools.
Here is what you can do:
Read the new policy for yourself:
CBE Guidelines for Attending to Gender Identity, Expression and Sexual Orientation in our Schools
Share this new policy information with others, through email, Facebook, phone calls, etc.
If you do not live in Calgary, but you have friends or family who do, please forward this message to them.
1. Subscribe to an important information blog set up by a Calgary parent to notify you of updates on this policy and opportunities for you to have a voice. This includes being alerted to the very important upcoming public meeting date, as soon as it is announced.
2. Phone, email and arrange meetings with your school board trustee to voice your concerns (contact information found on the CBE website).
School boards are elected to represent parents and electors that have entrusted them with the care and education of their children. And to be most effective, school board policies must reflect the outcome of thoughtful, balanced discussions that value all perspectives.
The voices of 4800 people who signed that petition deserve to be heard and taken into account.
Know the policy, get involved and speak up. Your voice matters.
According to an April 16th Calgary Herald article:
A petition that could have forced the Calgary Board of Education to host a public meeting about a new policy for LGBTQ students has been deemed “insufficient.”
Most disappointing is that the trustees did not even offer reasons why they rejected the petition which was submitted on behalf of almost 5,000 people.