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The debate over respecting the boundaries of females has spilled over the border and has galvanized protests at the Alberta legislature.

“Both were there as participants in two similar, yet very different, rallies scheduled only an hour apart.  The crux of both protests was the controversial Bill 10.  The first one took place to support trans rights while the second was organized to give displeased parents a voice against the bill.  The bill, originally passed by the Progressive Conservative government in March 2015, focuses on students having access to gay-straight alliances.”

No problem with GSA’s, but what the protesters are objecting to is this from the guidelines sent to the public schools.  This quote from page 6 of that document:

“Some students have not disclosed their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression beyond the school community for a variety of reasons, including safety. In keeping with the principles of self-identification, it is important to:

• inform students of limitations regarding their chosen name and gender identity or gender expression in relation to official school records that require legal name designation; and

• protect a student’s personal information and privacy, including, where possible, having a student’s explicit permission before disclosing information related to the student’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression to peers, parents, guardians or other adults in their lives.

Wherever possible, before contacting the parents or other adults involved in the care (such as social workers or caregivers) of a student who is trans or gender-diverse, consult with the student to determine an appropriate way to reference the student’s gender identity, gender expression, name and related pronouns.”

One can see where parents might be concerned as schools have been directed to withhold information regarding their children.  Keeping parents out of the loop with critical information regarding their children isn’t a good policy as parents or one’s family is responsible for the child’s well being for all the time the child is outside of school.

Conversely, a child from a family holding traditional views on gender or sexuality would be placed in a tenuous position, facing a bevy of negative consequences at home for going against her or his family’s values.

The legislation as worded has the very distinct possibility of creating a culture of distrust between the school and the parents.  Open discourse and communication are key in maintaining the school/home relationship that is vital for student success in the academic environment.

Adequate supports must be in place for students whose values differ from their parents, and schools should be facilitating the dialogue between children and their parents.  Withholding pertinent information from parents only places schools in opposition to families thus removing a foundational connective bridge in educational process – and that benefits no one.

[Source: cbc.ca]

[Source: Education Alberta]

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