Alberta tells Catholic school trustees to 'sort themselves out' over LGBTQ issue

EDMONTON -- Alberta's Education Minister David Eggen says Edmonton Catholic School Board trustees need to "sort themselves out" when it comes to their conflicting actions on drafting a plan to help LGBTQ students.

See Full Article

"We're trying to have policy across the province line up with the letter of the law, and so that's the responsibility of the trustees and the boards," Eggen said Monday outside Government House.

"The vast majority of Albertans want equality and justice for all students, including those with different gender identities.

"They (the trustees) need to sort themselves out and make sure they are doing the job that they are elected and paid to do."

The Edmonton Catholic board is one of 61 boards across Alberta charged by the province with drafting a policy to make schools safe and welcoming to LGBTQ students, as mandated under Alberta's School Act.

The boards must submit draft policies to the province for review by March 31.

To assist the boards, Eggen's department dispatched last week 12 guidelines for the policies.

The guidelines specify that transgender students be allowed to use their washroom of choice depending on their sex or on whether they perceive themselves to be a girl or a boy.

It also states students be allowed to dress based on the same principle and play on sports teams they feel align with their sexuality.

The students should be addressed by the name and pronoun that makes them comfortable, and can say how they want to be named and be recognized in official school records.

Eggen has said he expects the boards' submissions will reflect the spirit, if not the letter, of the guidelines.

The guidelines provoked a furious response from Calgary Bishop Fred Henry.

Henry, in an open letter to parishioners, labelled the guidelines and the overall policy plan "totalitarian" and contrary to church teachings.

"In (God's) plan, men and women should respect and accept their sexual identity," wrote Henry.

Last Friday, Edmonton Catholic school trustees forwarded Henry's letter to all parents in its district.

It was not a unanimous move. Board trustee Patricia Grell, in a blog post, said she opposed the decision and apologized to those offended by Henry's letter.

"I was unsuccessful in convincing them that it would not bode well for our district and the future of Catholic education if we allowed ourselves to participate in disseminating his uniformed views and comments," wrote Grell.

Marilyn Bergstra, the chair of the Edmonton Catholic board, was to speak to the issue later Monday.

It was the actions of the Edmonton Catholic board that launched the policy process in the first place.

Last fall, the district struggled with a seven-year-old student who self-identified as a girl and wanted to use the girls washroom.

The student balked at the school's suggestion to use a gender-neutral washroom and her family filed a human rights complaint.

Board members held emotional meetings as they tried to craft a larger policy on LGBTQ rights.

One trustee told the media he believed transgender students "have a mental disorder."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Mali prime minister lashes out at France, UN, saying country had been 'stabbed in the back'

    World News CTV News
    Mali's prime minister lashed out Saturday at former colonizer France, the UN. secretary-general and many people in between, saying that the tumultuous country had been "stabbed in the back" by the French military withdrawal. In the same remarks, Abdoulaye Maiga praised the "exemplary and fruitful cooperation between Mali and Russia. Source
  • China on Taiwan: 'External interference' won't be tolerated

    World News CTV News
    UNITED NATIONS - China underscored its commitment Saturday to its claim to Taiwan, telling world leaders that anyone who gets in the way of its determination to reunify with the self-governing island would be "crushed by the wheels of history. Source
  • Pharoah Sanders, influential saxophonist revered in jazz world, dead at 81

    World News CBC News
    Pharoah Sanders, the influential tenor saxophonist revered in the jazz world for the spirituality of his work, has died, his record label announced. He was 81. Sanders, also known for his extensive work alongside John Coltrane in the 1960s, died in Los Angeles early Saturday, said the post on Twitter from Luaka Bop, the label that released his 2021 album, Promises. Source
  • Queen Elizabeth II's final resting place revealed in new Windsor Castle photograph

    World News CTV News
    Buckingham Palace has released a photograph of Queen Elizabeth II's final resting place within St. George's Chapel following her interment in Windsor on Monday. An engraved ledger stone featuring the name of the late monarch was installed in the King George VI Memorial Chapel, an annex to the main chapel, on Monday evening after a private service attended by her family. Source
  • Russian police block mobilization protests, arrest hundreds

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW - Russian police moved quickly Saturday to disperse peaceful protests against President Vladimir Putin's military mobilization order, arresting hundreds, including some children, in several cities across the vast country. Police detained more than 700 people, including over 300 in Moscow and about 150 in St. Source
  • Families mourn as death toll from sunken Lebanon migrant boat rises to 86

    World News CBC News
    The death — toll from a migrant boat that sank off the Syrian coast after sailing from Lebanon earlier this week has risen to 86, Syrian state TV reported on Saturday. The sinking marks the deadliest such voyage yet from Lebanon, where mounting economic desperation has led many to board often rickety and overcrowded boats in the hope of reaching Europe. Source
  • Families mourn as death toll from sunken Lebanon migrant boat rises to 94

    World News CBC News
    The death — toll from a migrant boat that sank off the Syrian coast after sailing from Lebanon earlier this week has risen to 86, Syrian state TV reported on Saturday. The sinking marks the deadliest such voyage yet from Lebanon, where mounting economic desperation has led many to board often rickety and overcrowded boats in the hope of reaching Europe. Source
  • NASA cancels moon rocket launch for 3rd time due to possible hurricane

    World News CBC News
    NASA is skipping next week's launch attempt of its new moon rocket because of a tropical storm that's expected to become a major hurricane. It's the third delay in the past month for the lunar-orbiting test flight featuring mannequins but no astronauts, a followup to NASA's Apollo moon-landing program of a half-century ago. Source
  • Ukrainian cities shelled as Russia pushes forward with Moscow-orchestrated vote

    World News CBC News
    Russian forces launched new strikes on Ukrainian cities as Kremlin-orchestrated votes took place in occupied regions of Ukraine to create a pretext for their annexation by Moscow. Ukraine's presidential office said the latest Russian shelling killed at least three people and wounded 19. Source
  • Port aux Basque under state of emergency as Fiona sweeps houses out to sea

    Canada News CTV News
    The town of Port aux Basque in Newfoundland and Labrador is under a state of emergency as first responders cope with electrical fires, residential flooding, and washoutsdue to post-tropical storm Fiona. According to the RCMP in the province, Fiona wreakedhavoc Saturdayon the small coastal townthat sits on the far,southwestern tip of Newfoundland. Source