Alberta Education Minister David Eggen arrives for a cabinet meeting. Alberta is proposing new legislation to ensure that students who join gay-straight alliances in school are not outed without their permission. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Gay-straight alliance bill draws praise from Central Albertans

The NDP’s opening salvo to their new opposition adversary targeted a social conservative policy new United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney outlined during his campaign.

And for one young conservative, it was the kind of policy that doesn’t sit well with her and some of her peers.

Austin Siebold, a Grade 11 student in Bentley, considers herself a conservative and is open about being gay. But proposals such as schools notifying parents if their child joins a Gay Straight Alliance concern her. In general, Siebold believes in small government.

“When the government creates a bill that tells principals what they can and can’t do in their schools, that’s a problem for me,” she said.

“I support the idea behind the (NDP’s) bill and believe Kenney was unfair in suggesting schools inform parents of student involvement.”

She said parental notification can be dangerous. Parents aren’t informed when students join other school clubs.

“It’s implying that it’s somehow different,” she said. “Parents aren’t abusive until they are, they can be perfectly fine and not harmful to their children until they find out the student is gay or believe they might be. That’s when they kick them out or start physically abusing them. That’s the danger there.”

Late last week, the NDP introduced a bill that would ensure every publicly funded in school has a clear policy allowing GSAs.

It also codifies the privacy of a student that joins a GSA or a Queer Straight Alliance, and prevents measures such as parental notification when a student joins such a school club. It would also strengthen the minister’s ability to ensure every school complies with the law, protect the establishment of GSAs from political interference and ensure principals help students create such an alliance in a timely manner.

“It’s reassuring to see a minister of education take this responsible stand in supporting safe schools for all of Alberta’s students,” said Darren Lund, a University of Calgary professor and former teacher at Lindsay Thurber High School.

“Extensive research confirms the many beneficial effects of having a GSA in schools, not just for marginalized students, but for everyone in those schools. When students feel safe, they can achieve potential both academically and personally.”

Lund helped develop the first Gay Straight Alliance in Alberta in 2000 at Lindsay Thurber.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Updated: Trial stalls for man accused in fatal Canada Day 2016 crash

Defence lawyer argued relevant information received only hours before trial to begin

Sylvan Lake council passes 2019 budget

Tax rate increase of 2.74 per cent set for this year

Relief for drivers in construction zones

Motorists in favour of change

Big-time entertainers to perform in Red Deer during the 2019 Canada Winter Games

Musicans announced include Strumbellas, k-os, Brett Kissel

WATCH:2019 Canada Winter Games torchbearers announced

Sixteen torchbearers announced with others to be revealed during Opening Ceremonies

Kentucky canoe outfit borrows photo of Trudeau family to market business

They are in a red canoe, all clad in life jackets, and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and Ella-Grace are waving

Police chief confirms all three Ottawa bus victims were on board when it crashed

OTTAWA — All three people killed in last week’s deadly bus accident… Continue reading

UPDATE: Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

Alberta doctor accused of sexual assault asked to voluntarily give up practice

College says Dr. Barry Wollach should discontinue his practice, given the seriousness of the allegation against him

Speedy acceptance of Saudi shows refugee system’s flaws

Who would not wish Rahaf Mohammed well? The 18-year-old Saudi wants to… Continue reading

Hertl’s hat trick leads Sharks past Penguins 5-2

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Tomas Hertl needed just three games to get… Continue reading

Starring role beckons for Canada’s Alphonso Davies at Bayern Munich

BERLIN — Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies could be thrown in at the… Continue reading

Most Read