Catholic school board seeks input on LGBTQ policy

Red Deer Regional Catholic Schools is now seeking feedback from schools and parents on its policies to provide an inclusive environment for LGBTQ students.

Red Deer Regional Catholic Schools is now seeking feedback from schools and parents on its policies to provide an inclusive environment for LGBTQ students.

Trustees reviewed the division’s safe and caring policy and administrative procedures at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

Superintendent Paul Mason said no major changes were required to comply with provincial law other than some minor wording changes, like inserting ‘family’ in place of ‘parents.’

“We have had a safe and caring policy in place for a number of years and associated administration procedures so it was just some slight revision that needed to take place,” Mason said.

“We’re not sure what rubric our policy guidelines will be gauged against because that has not been shared with us by government. We are quite confident that we are onside with what the minister is asking for as related to a safe and caring environment for students.”

Last year Alberta Education released policy guidelines for school boards to meet the needs of LGBTQ students.

Provincial law requires all school boards — public, separate, Francophone and charter — to submit policies to the Education Minister by March 31 that create safe learning environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students. Support for the establishment of gay-straight alliances and queer-straight alliances must be included.

Provincial recommendations for the policy include allowing LGBTQ students to dress, have safe access to washrooms and changing facilities, and participate in sports and extra-curricular activities according to their gender identity.

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