Alberta plans to ban schools from telling parents their child is in an LGBT club
EDMONTON, Alberta, September 29, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Alberta’s NDP government is making it illegal for schools to tell parents their children is in a gay/straight alliance.
Education Minister Dave Eggen announced Wednesday that he’ll introduce the legislation this fall to “ensure the safety and security of all inhabitants of this province,” reported the Edmonton Sun.
As well as banning schools from telling parents their child is in a GSA, Eggen’s proposed law would amend the School Act to mandate schools tell LGBTQ students they have the legal right to form a gay-straight alliance.
It would compel all publicly funded schools, including Catholic, to establish anti-bullying policies banning discrimination based on gender identity and expression and sexual orientation.
The proposed NDP bill would also be enforced in private schools, the Sun reported.
Eggen can defund non-compliant schools
Private schools are currently exempted from legislation mandating schools allow a GSA on student request. An outside consultant recommended last December that the NDP remove the exemption.
Critics of GSAs maintain the clubs are not neutral but promote the LGBTQ lifestyle and can unduly influence impressionable students.
Eggen issued a ministerial order in March compelling two Christian private schools to establish GSAs if a student requested one.
He also sent a letter to all school boards in April directing them to keep parents in the dark if their child joined a GSA.
Eggen is now warning that he has the power to pull the accreditation and funding of non-compliant schools, the Canadian Press reported.
Private schools are funded 70 percent by the Alberta government, Eggen said. “If you are receiving public money then the law should apply to those schools just the same as any other school.”
Media play up NDP fearmongering
Eggen and Premier Rachel Notley are making political hay of the issue, most notably by fearmongering against their main rivals for power, the newly formed United Conservative Party.
They’re particularly aiming at Jason Kenney, the former Conservative MP who is the frontrunner with Brian Jean in a tightly contested UCP four-man leadership race to be decided October 28.
“We’ve had some dangerous rhetoric from Jason Kenney and other UCP MLAs, suggesting that they would out students who did participate in a GSA,” Eggen told CBC’s Edmonton AM on Thursday.
“So we would make that illegal.”
Notley ramped up the rhetoric at an NDP meeting last weekend when she also accusing Kenney of wanting to “out” homosexual students, reported Canadian Press.
“That’s just not super-sized. It’s super-cruel, it’s super-extreme and it’s super backwards,” Notley said.
The media has gone with the spin, portraying Eggen and the NDP in their self-acclaimed role as champion of LGBTQ students, with headlines such as “Alberta NDP says it will bring in law to prevent Kenney from outing gay kids.”
Parents presumed loving: Kenney
For his part, Kenney is deflecting the issue.
“I’m not going to comment on legislation that I haven’t seen,” he told reporters after a UCP leadership debate Thursday, according to Canadian Press.
The NDP “are just looking for opportunities to deflect from their failed economic record, and I'm not going to play along with their game,” added Kenney.
The NDP have been baiting Kenney on the issue since he stood up for parental rights in March.
Kenney said then that unless the parents are abusive, they should be told their child has joined a GSA at school.
When Eggen described that as “extremist,” Kenney replied on Facebook that it’s “simply not true” he wants schools to “out” LGBTQ students.
“In some cases, informing parents would clearly be inappropriate,” he wrote. However, “there should be a presumption that most parents are loving and caring, seeking only what is best for their children.”
He trusted school personnel “to exercise their judgment about such matters,” wrote Kenney.
Politicians “should not stand between parents and their kids. This is not an issue that should be so hyper-politicized … it should be about the best interests of the children,” he told the Edmonton Journal in August.
NDP bill will harm vulnerable kids
Meanwhile, critics warn the proposed NDP bill could do much harm.
By banning schools from telling parents their child has joined a GSA, “we remove a school’s ability to be responsive to the needs of each individual child in each unique circumstance,” wrote parent advocate Theresa Ng in her blog Informed Albertans.
“Parents cannot be supportive if they are not included.”
That’s echoed by executive director of Parents for Choice in Education Donna Trimble.
The Alberta teachers’ union admits that LGBTQ “are at a high risk for self-harm and suicide,” she wrote in an August Edmonton Sun op-ed.
With parents or guardians excluded by law, “a child’s history is all but ignored,” wrote Trimble.
“Critical information is never considered, even though it may be integral to a child’s care. Past trauma and autism are two examples.”
NDP violating parents’ rights
Indeed, Kenney related last March a mother told him of just such as case.
"Her 12-year-old autistic daughter had been put into counselling and referred to as a boy, given a boy’s name in school,” he told Global News.
“But none of this information had been shared with the parents,” added Kenney. “So, for months, the child was being treated as a boy in school and as a girl at home, creating even more problems, confusion and tension.”
John Carpay of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom contends the proposed NDP law is unconstitutional.
“The notion that children have privacy rights in relation to their own parents is false,” he told the CBC.
“To prohibit parents from being informed, absent exceptional circumstances, violates parents’ legal rights and responsibilities for their children.”