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

  • Crews from other provinces, U.S., Mexico helping Ontario fight forest fires

    Canada News CBC News
    Crews fighting forest fires in northern Ontario are receiving help from other provinces, the U.S. and Mexico as they try to contain several blazes after days of hot and humid weather. Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry said in a release that, as of Saturday night, 64 forest fires were burning in the northern and northeastern half of the province, with 29 of them out of control. Source
  • B.C. wildfire out of control but situation improving: authorities

    Canada News CTV News
    Some residents of the Okanagan region in British Columbia woke up Sunday to a sight they hadn’t seen in days: a smoke-free blue sky. “This is the best I’ve seen it in the last couple days,” Peachland Mayor Cindy Fortin told CTV News Channel. Source
  • Fight over land dispute on Alberta reserve heads to federal court

    Canada News CTV News
    STANDOFF, Alta. -- A dispute between two families over land on Canada's largest reserve is heading to court in part to question whether First Nations members have any right to the ground beneath their feet. Source
  • Ethiopia has 'no option' but multiparty democracy, PM says

    World News CTV News
    JOHANNESBURG -- Ethiopia has "no option" but to pursue multi-party democracy, the reformist new prime minister said Sunday, again shaking up Africa's second most populous nation that for decades has been ruled by a single coalition. Source
  • Homebuyers penning letters to gain edge over competition

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Monica Martins and her husband had been looking for a house for nine months by the time they fell in love with a "character home" in Toronto's east end. With demand for properties high and bidding wars the norm, they knew getting the home wouldn't be easy, so to convince the seller to choose their offer, they decided to go beyond simply digging deep into their bank account. Source
  • Jonathan Gold, Pulitzer-winning L.A. restaurant critic, dead at 57

    World News CBC News
    Jonathan Gold, who became the first restaurant critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for criticism, has died. He was 57. The Los Angeles Times, where Gold most recently worked, reported that he died Saturday after being diagnosed earlier this month with pancreatic cancer. Source
  • Grazing on weeds: Goats brought to Edmonton parks as herbicide alternative

    Canada News CTV News
    A little taste of farm life has descended on Edmonton as nearly 400 goats have been hired to help out with weed removal in the city’s parks. On Saturday, the herd was tasked with chowing down on leafy spurge, an invasive weed species with several yellow flowers in a bunch, at Rundle Park in Edmonton’s east end. Source
  • 'If they don't make it, Lord, take me too': Grieving mother recounts panicked moments as duck boat sank

    World News CBC News
    "Grab the baby!" Those were the last words Tia Coleman recalls her sister-in-law yelling before the tourist boat they were on sank into a Missouri lake, killing 17 people, including nine of Coleman's family members. A huge wave hit, scattering passengers on the amphibious vessel known as a duck boat into Table Rock Lake near Branson, Coleman said. Source
  • Cree filmmaker from Manitoba crowdfunds her way to Comic-Con

    Canada News CBC News
    She had to crowdfund her way there, but an Indigenous filmmaker from Manitoba made her voice heard as a speaker at this year's popular Comic-Con festival in San Diego. "I was like, I would love to go to Comic-Con and talk about the special challenges faced by Indigenous creators when they want to make films and comic books and novels that aren't about poverty porn," said Sonya Ballantyne, who's from Misipawistik First Nation near Grand Rapids, Man. Source
  • 11 killed in ambush on South African taxi drivers

    World News CTV News
    A minibus with bullet holes on its side is seen on the road between Weenen and Colenso, in KwaZulu Natal province, South Africa, early Sunday, July 22, 2018. South African police say gunmen opened fire on the vehicle carrying members of a taxi drivers' association, killing 11 people and critically wounding four others. Source