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

  • Record water levels in the Great Lakes leave businesses with sinking frustration

    Canada News CTV News
    Record water levels in the Great Lakes and surrounding rivers have left some businesses scrambling as the tourist season is in full swing. Owners of the Thousand Islands Playhouse, a theatre in Gananoque, Ont. Source
  • Uber's new electric bikes hit roadblocks in Montreal

    Canada News CTV News
    Montreal is the first Canadian city to introduce Uber JUMP, a fleet of pedal-assisted electric bikes that can be locked at any bike rack across the city. But just weeks after the ride-sharing program launched, users have already been accused of thwarting the rules of the road. Source
  • U.S. imposes strict travel limits on Iran's UN diplomats

    World News CBC News
    The U.S. is tightly limiting travel by Iranian officials visiting or assigned to the United Nations, sparking concern from the world body. Representatives to the UN from Iran and some other countries have long had some limitations on their movements. Source
  • Maskwacis RCMP investigate deaths of toddlers found in body of water

    Canada News CTV News
    MASKWACIS, Alta. - Alberta RCMP are investigating the deaths of a young brother and sister found in a body of water on private property near Maskwacis. Police began looking for the toddlers in the early evening on Wednesday. Source
  • Crowd chants 'send her back' as Trump rails against Ilhan Omar

    World News CTV News
    The crowd at a rally held by U.S. President Donald Trump in Greenville, N.C., broke into chants of “send her back” as the president railed against Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar Wednesday, days after he posted racist tweets about Omar and three of her fellow congresswomen. Source
  • 'Problem' bear terrorizes couple at remote N.W.T. lake

    Canada News CBC News
    A grizzly bear that terrorized a couple for roughly 12 hours on a remote lake in the Northwest Territories was known to be a problem, according to a territorial wildlife officer. The man and woman, who are originally from the U.S. Source
  • Protest erupts in New York after police officer avoids charges in Eric Garner chokehold case

    World News CBC News
    Several hundred people took to the streets of New York on Wednesday to protest a decision by the U.S. Department of Justice not to bring federal charges against a police officer accused in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man in 2014. Source
  • 'Hey Eric Trump': Ontario man calls out U.S. president's son for using child's image in tweet

    World News CBC News
    An Ontario man is calling out a member of the Trump family for using an image of his young son as part of a political attack on those opposing the American president. Jeremy Rupke says Donald Trump's son Eric showed "disrespect" and lack of forethought when he included an image of four-year-old Mason Rupke in a recent social media broadside against Democrats. Source
  • National rules needed for emotional-service animals: Rempel

    Canada News CBC News
    A Conservative MP says she would like to see national standards on the right to have emotional-service animals in public spaces after watching her husband encounter numerous barriers while travelling in Canada with his dog, Midas. Source
  • 320,000 litres of oil and produced water spills at Alberta facility

    Canada News CTV News
    SWAN HILLS, Alta. - A large spill of crude oil and produced water at a Cardinal Energy facility near Swan Hills is being cleaned up. The Alberta Energy Regulator has few details about Saturday's spill on its compliance reporting website. Source