Alberta Education Minister David Eggen has tabled long-expected amendments to the province’s Education Act. Among other things, Bill 24
, which is entitled “An Act to Protect Gay-Straight Alliances”, will make it a crime for schools to inform parents if children are struggling with issues of sexual identity, or if they have chosen to join a so-called Gay-Straight Alliance Club at their school, unless children give their explicit consent. Donna Trimble from the group “Parents for Choice in Education” says the new rules are pretty egregious, because there are virtually no exceptions. “There’s no explicit protection… for parent notification based on age appropriateness. and we’re talking about children as young as five. There’s no explicit protection for the history of the child; so past trauma, mental health issues, issues around self-harm or suicidal ideation, the child’s mental capacity – children with autism. (And) there’s no consideration for the fact that students that are attending these GSA’s may come from families that have very different faith or cultural considerations.”
The Act also says when it comes to creating safe and inclusive environments in schools, principals are accountable to the Minister, and not to their School Boards or School Superintendents to ensure that the rules are followed, and that the government can step into any school, including private or parochial schools, if the government isn’t satisfied that those new rules are being followed.