And other school board elec­tion is­sues that seem to be on ev­ery­one’s mind

Metro Canada (Edmonton) - - Your Essential Daily News - Kevin Maimann

Sex ed­u­ca­tion and Gay-Straight Al­liances are prov­ing to be cen­tral elec­tion is­sues as school board can­di­dates sift through sur­veys from ad­vo­cacy groups.

The Al­berta Pro-Choice Coali­tion gave a sur­vey to can­di­dates on nom­i­na­tion day ask­ing them to pledge sup­port for in­clu­sive, “ev­i­dence-based” sex ed in schools that in­cludes con­sent ed­u­ca­tion.

By Fri­day af­ter­noon, the group had re­ceived pledges from about half of Ed­mon­ton Pub­lic can­di­dates and no Catholic can­di­dates.

“When you hit your 30s, you might not use your al­ge­bra. But I guar­an­tee you, by the time you hit your 30s you’ll have used the in­for­ma­tion you got on con­sent and sex­ual health,” said Kathy Daw­son, a board mem­ber with the group.

Daw­son said she is con­cerned that re­cent moves by the Ed­mon­ton pub­lic to of­fer in­clu­sive sex ed, and move away from ab­sti­nence-only teach­ings, could be un­done if cer­tain can­di­dates get in.

As a par­ent, she said she used to pay lit­tle at­ten­tion to school board elec­tions, which have made her keenly aware that can­di­dates can get in un­der the radar.

The LGBTQ Cap­i­tal Club sent out a sur­vey re­lat­ing to GayStraight Al­liances and ac­com­mo­da­tions for trans­gen­der stu­dents and staff, while Sup­port Our Stu­dents Al­berta asked can­di­dates to pledge sup­port for “LGBTQ2+ rights.”

Mean­while, Par­ents for Choice in Ed­u­ca­tion — a group that has voiced sup­port for UCP lead­er­ship can­di­date Ja­son Ken­ney on so­cial me­dia — is­sued a sur­vey with ques­tions around a par­ent’s right to be “fully in­formed about all as­pects of their chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion.”

In­di­vid­u­ally, Ed­mon­ton pub­lic trustees Michael Janz and Brid­get Stir­ling, who have been out­spo­ken about their sup­port for LGBTQ stu­dents, are be­ing chal­lenged by Yemi Philip and Tyler Duce in Wards F and G, re­spect­fully.

Duce came un­der fire early in the cam­paign over a 2010 Face­book post in which he said he was born “ho­mo­pho­bic,” and he later crit­i­cized Pre­mier Rachel Not­ley in a blog when the pre­mier said kids should not be outed to their par­ents if they join a GSA. Phillip has cam­paigned along­side Duce.

In the Catholic race, the arch­dio­cese web­site has posted pro­files on can­di­dates in­clud­ing Lisa Tur­chan­sky, who is run­ning in Ward 76 against in­cum­bent Mar­i­lyn Bergstra, who has ad­vo­cated for more com­pre­hen­sive sex ed.

Catholic Trus­tee Pa­tri­cia Grell an­nounced last month she would not run for re-elec­tion, due in part to “in­ter­fer­ence and bul­ly­ing” by the arch­dio­cese on is­sues around LGBTQ stu­dents.

Kathy daw­son Kevin Tuong/for meTro

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