Today marks one year since I exposed on my blog how a government-funded and recommended resource for K-12 students led to sexually graphic material.
With only 1-2 clicks from the online resource, children could easily access videos of naked adults participating in sexual acts, ads for sex toys, highly descriptive oral sex techniques and advice to “pay for porn” and “visit a group masturbation site at your local sex club.”
Most disturbing was that these links were guised as “support” for kindergarten to Grade 12 students.
One would expect that this horrendous exploitation of children’s trust would lead to someone being held responsible for negligence and incompetence in failing to vet the links being provided to Alberta students.
After all, struggling children seeking help from a supposedly trustworthy source endorsed by the government were instead betrayed and manipulated into viewing inappropriate sexual material.
However, no one from the University of Alberta’s Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS) — the group responsible for the organizing the online Alberta GSA Network — was ever publicly held accountable.
In fact, instead of issuing a public apology, the director of iSMSS publicly flaunted a $1,000 donation for kids in GSAs from none other than “Fruit Loop”, one of the very “community support” groups in the school resource that had linked to sexual content.
The problem is not the site, but the source
Some have suggested that since the Alberta government ensured that offensive links were swiftly removed from the website resource following my blog article that the problem is solved and the issue should no longer be pursued.
But they are wrong.
In an unnerving display of hypocrisy, many elected representatives, individuals in the media and those at the helm of the Alberta Teachers’ Association who claim to care about the safety of children, still continue to entrust the “experts” of iSMSS with tremendous access, influence and authority over children and our K-12 education system.
In fact, it was individuals from iSMSS who stood directly behind the Education Minister at the press conference when Bill 24 was introduced in November – a new law which successfully grants a free pass to school clubs to provide sexual information to K-12 children without requiring any parental notification or consent.
Most recently, the Alberta Teachers’ Association even invited the Director of iSMSS to be their keynote speaker at Palliser Regional Teachers’ Convention, continuing to allow this organization to push into Alberta’s education system through multiple levels of influence.
New timeline available… New action item coming soon
As many of you know, I pursued this matter in the spring of 2017 with a tremendous amount of time and energy, initiating a province-wide letter-writing campaign (thank you to each person who invested time to write and mail letters to help demonstrate the depth of concern!) and meeting with several politicians to push them for accountability and answers.
As a trained elementary teacher and mother to three young children, I hold the safety of children and the integrity of our education system in the highest regard.
I will continue pushing for accountability to ensure that those who have endangered the safety of children, especially under the guise of “support”, are held responsible for their horrendous violation of trust.
Over the past few months my role has been shifting. I continue to write as an independent blogger, but have also been hired part-time as the Communications Advisor for Parents for Choice in Education (PCE) to help with research, writing and presentations.
I am thankful and honoured to contribute my efforts to PCE, an organization with greater resources, a more robust website and broader reach than my blog alone.
As part of PCE’s 2018 Action Plan, I am contributing to a section specifically related to what people can do to continuing to pursue accountability when it comes to this specific issue.
Stay tuned for the release of that information soon.
For those who want to show their support for these efforts, please consider financially supporting PCE as a monthly donor (visit PCE’s donate page and scroll down to “Monthly Donor”) and signing up on PCE’s homepage to ensure you are added to the mailing list.
To provide an overview of everything that has happened with the sexually graphic material, I have also added a new tab at the top of my blog entitled “Sexually graphic material to kids in Alberta schools: Timeline”. I encourage you to check it out and share the link with those who are new to the issue. That page will continue to be updated as any new developments arise.