More than 100 Red Deer Catholic Regional School students travelled to Edmonton for an anti-abortion rally.
Students from St. Joseph High School and Ecole Secondaire Notre Dame High School were bused to March for Life on May 9 at the legislature.
A statement from the school board said the parents or guardians of the 110 students were made aware of the students’ participation and supported their attendance.
“As Catholic educational leaders, we encourage our students to engage in social justice, which is part of the faith curriculum,” said school board chair Anne Marie Watson.
“This includes supporting students to be active in causes and events that matter to them.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, the United Conservative government hadn’t made any statements regarding students’ participation in the rally.
Earlier this month, students walked out of classes to protest expected changes to the province’s gay-straight alliances. At the time, Premier Jason Kenney advised students to take an interest in politics outside of school hours.
“It’s great to see young people taking an active interest in issues,” Kenney said, according to CTV Edmonton.
“We want to make sure young people are learning in class instead of doing politics outside of school during school hours.”
Abortion doula Lauren Johnson, who also manages the Red Deer and Area Pro Choice Facebook page, said it’s “interesting” that the premier has not commented this time around, when school students were bused to Edmonton during school hours.
“I find it a little too convenient,” she said.
She noted some of the members of the UCP caucus have been pro-life in the past, such as Red Deer-North MLA Adriana LaGrange, who was once a Red Deer Pro-Life president and a former trustee on the Red Deer Catholic Regional School board.
LaGrange is now the education minister.
Johnson is concerned about the lack of well-rounded health and wellness education in the Catholic school system, after having children in the Catholic school system herself.
“They’re not being presented all sides without bias,” she said, adding children and teenagers who are at an impressionable age should be equipped with all sides of the information.
“Sex education across the province is not comprehensive enough, but it is less comprehensive within the Catholic school system … it seems to be very picked through based on your belief system.
“They don’t do that with math, or science. It’s all science or no science, whereas when it comes to health and wellness, it seems to be the only place where the religious backing of your school has a say in what you’re taught.”
With files from The Canadian Press