New GSA legislation will open up discussions

New legislation allowing all students access to gay-straight alliances could open up discussions for the Red Deer Catholic Regional School District and other districts throughout the province.

New legislation allowing all students access to gay-straight alliances could open up discussions for the Red Deer Catholic Regional School District and other districts throughout the province.

Amendments to the Alberta government gay-straight alliance related legislation, Bill 10, proposed on Tuesday would enable all students to form a gay-straight alliance club. The amendment includes children in all Alberta schools — public, Catholic, private and charter.

Guy Pelletier, chair of the Red Deer Catholic Regional School District board, said on Tuesday that the school board has always strived facilitate inclusiveness and would abide by the legislation, should it be approved.

“We’ve had a commitment to safe and caring schools and inclusive environments, have always had and will continue to have,” said Pelletier.

“I’m not sure the amendments change that approach, but it’s probably a good conversation to have to help us formalize our thinking on not only GSAs, in terms of forming those, but any type of student group.

“If there are student groups feeling marginalized or bullied, if there’s ways we can do more to help them, then we’re happy to do that.”

Specifically, the board will formalize its thinking on how GSAs are created and how the board can facilitate inclusiveness.

“It’s a good chance to talk about the issues and make sure our students are supported,” said Pelletier.

The Red Deer Public School District is in the process of writing a formal policy that includes GSAs. The board directed administration to create comprehensive policy addressing the needs to sexual orientation and gender minorities.

On Tuesday, Alberta Education Minister Gordon Dirks announced an amendment to the bill that would allow students to establish GSAs in any Alberta school and members would be allowed to meet on school property.

The amendment replaces one proposed last fall that would have allowed GSAs off school grounds.

The alliances are peer-support groups for gay students that are meant to make them feel welcome and prevent them from being bullied.

A study by the University of British Columbia in 2008 showed that the odds of teens having suicidal thoughts are reduced by half in schools that have such groups in place.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Festival of Trees volunteers honoured at breakfast

This year’s Festival of Trees was able to provide the Red Deer… Continue reading

Two Red Deer filmmakers are finalists in web-series contest

Angel Peterson and Jason Steele are each creating pilot episodes with $20,000 prize

Sexual predator preyed on his own young daughter and niece

Eckville man sexually assaulted numerous children as young as two for nearly a decade

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

OTTAWA — Signs began to emerge Friday that the coming race to… Continue reading

Man who tried to kill Edmonton police officer, pedestrians sentenced to 28 years

EDMONTON — A man convicted of attacking an Edmonton police officer and… Continue reading

Drug bust: Red Deer RCMP seize drugs, cash, vehicles

Criminals are getting creative. Red Deer RCMP have seized cash and vehicles… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Friday The Annual Old-Fashioned Country Christmas is being held Dec. 13 at… Continue reading

Regina police say male driver dies at scene after collision with large truck

REGINA — Police in Regina are investigating a fatal crash in the… Continue reading

From fourth place, Singh says he’d rather push Liberals than work with Tories

OTTAWA — The New Democratic Party is sitting in fourth place after… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $31 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $31 million jackpot… Continue reading

Vancouver homeless camp brings community, safety, home, says resident

VANCOUVER — Standing out in the rain on a path between tents… Continue reading

Advocate says Winnipeg must tackle poverty, addictions to end violent crime

WINNIPEG — A recent spike in violent crime in Manitoba’s capital has… Continue reading

Grizzly bears move north in High Arctic as climate change expands range

Some unlikely neighbours are moving in around the northernmost communities of the… Continue reading

Lawyers for QuadrigaCX clients request exhumation of late founder’s remains

HALIFAX — Lawyers for clients who lost millions in the bankruptcy of… Continue reading

Most Read