Alberta Party Opposition Leader Greg Clark has released a statement following the Edmonton Catholic School District meeting on creating an inclusive community policy.
“Watching the Edmonton Catholic School Board debate policy to include (or in the case of one board member, exclude) transgender children was a frustrating experience. Most of the old, hurtful arguments about transgender people were rolled out one more time, but you won’t find me repeating them here.
We know these outdated attitudes hurt transgender kids. When over 65% of transgender children self-harm and nearly 30% attempt suicide, it’s time for attitudes and policies to change. If our schools and our school boards aren’t standing up for kids, then their elected officials must do so instead.
This is why Alberta’s Minister of Education needs to step in to impose a uniform policy on any board that does not full implement Bill 10, including an acceptable sexual orientation and gender identity and expression policy.
Based on last night’s board meeting it is clear the Edmonton Catholic School Board needs governance help, but providing them with advice and guidance won’t immediately protect transgender kids nor will it help other boards struggling with the same issue.
Despite what Minister Eggen might think, there is an incredible need for an overarching provincial policy. He may not think he has to battle 61 different school districts on this matter of human rights, but right now that’s the risk we face. Every school needs an inclusive policy that puts the rights of children at the very forefront, regardless of the beliefs of those who may try to prevent children from accessing these inalienable rights.
There are two big issues a common policy would address. First, it would mean less opportunity for boards and board members around the province to repeat the same hurtful arguments we heard last night, arguments we know further marginalize already vulnerable persons. Second and equally important, it would ensure all aspects of Bill 10 are fully implemented across the province in a timely manner.
I will be bringing forth a motion in the upcoming session of the Legislature that addresses this issue, and call on all parties, Government and Opposition, to support and pass the motion. The alternative to a common policy is a repeat of what we saw yesterday. For our children’s’ sake, that cannot be allowed to happen. “
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