Alberta recently passed legislation prohibiting schools from informing parents if their children attended a Gay-straight Alliance (GSA) group meeting, but a local school board doesn’t think that is the best route to take.
The Alberta government passed Bill 24 by a vote of 42-23 earlier this month. The legislation prevents school officials from telling parents about students attending GSA clubs, except for extreme circumstances where the student is in direct threat or at risk of self harm.
Tom Hawboldt is the superintendent of learning with the Light of Christ Catholic School Division. He said he doesn't think legislation is necessary when it comes to the issue here in Saskatchewan.
“We would prefer to deal with that on a case-by-case basis,” Hawboldt said. “It is always a little bit of a concern when you make blanket laws in regards to that ... Our first priority will always be the safety of our students.”
Hawboldt noted the provincial government hasn’t expressed any desire of joining Alberta and creating a similar Bill, but local Battlefords GSA member Bobbisue Thom said the province should follow suit.
“That should be law across the country,” Thom said. “About 40 per cent of homeless youth are LGBT and many of them because the families kicked them out for being LGBT. We literally see kids get kicked out and beaten just for being who they are. Some families are greatly supportive, but it is a risk. It’s not someone else’s right to tell anybody.”
Thom said GSA groups in schools should be treated as any other group or club.
“Does the school call parents and say ‘Hey your kid joined band?’ Have you ever heard of that call being made? No, of course not. So why would they select this one group and phone their parents when students join? Especially if it could put the child at risk.”
Thom agreed the parents should be involved if teachers feel a student is in any sort of danger due to bullying or other reasons.
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