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EDMONTON, Alberta, June 2, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Edmonton Public School Board is currently accepting feedback on the development of a “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” Policy.  The deadline for feedback submission is June 9.

According to the “philosophical foundation statement” of the policy, the board is committed to establishing a “safe, inclusive, equitable, and welcoming” environment, with specific reference to those who “identify or are perceived as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirit, queer or questioning their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”

“The Board will not tolerate harassment, bullying, intimidation, or discrimination on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The Board will monitor and enforce all policies and regulations dealing with such matters.”

The policy accords specific rights to “sexual and gender minorities,” including rights to “self-identification and determination,” “freedom of conscience, expression, and association,” and “be included, affirmed, and represented.”

With the implementation of the policy, the board says it further commits to “effectively” addressing “homophobic, transphobic, and heterosexist behaviours and complaints,” in addition to implementing strategies to “raise awareness and improve understanding of the lives of sexual and gender minority people.”

Local Christian organizations have expressed concern that the policy will negatively affect the religious freedom and values of their members.  While affirming the need for loving responses to all people regardless of “sexual orientation,” the groups say that to affirm the types of “sexual orientation” protected in the policy would violate their personal faith beliefs.

The board will be accepting input until June 9.  The results of the survey will be compiled and submitted to the Edmonton Public School Board Trustees for consideration.

To read the policy draft, click here.

To submit input on the Policy, click here.

Members of the public are also provided the opportunity to address the Board at meetings by contacting the Board Office. For more information, click here.

Correction: This article had originally stated that the policy would be presented to the Edmonton Public School Board on June 14. This was incorrect. LSN has been informed that the earliest the policy will be presented to the Board of Trustees for consideration is in the fall of 2011.

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