Le­gal group takes is­sue with LGBTQ poli­cies

Writes let­ter to school boards

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS - JANET French

A char­i­ta­ble le­gal or­ga­ni­za­tion that sued the Al­berta gov­ern­ment over school pro­tec­tions for LGBTQ stu­dents has writ­ten to school boards across Al­berta say­ing their poli­cies may breach the Char­ter of Rights and Free­doms.

Al­berta’s ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter, mean­while, said she sees no prob­lem with school board poli­cies pre­vent­ing prin­ci­pals from re­veal­ing whether a stu­dent be­longs to a gay-straight al­liance.

“I would say that John Car­pay and his or­ga­ni­za­tion does not speak for the gov­ern­ment of Al­berta, nor do they speak for the depart­ment of ed­u­ca­tion," Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Adri­ana La­grange said at the leg­is­la­ture Thurs­day.

The Jus­tice Cen­tre for Con­sti­tu­tional Free­doms (JCCF) is headed by Car­pay, who last year com­pared the rain­bow Pride flag to Nazi and Com­mu­nist sym­bols. He was a United Con­ser­va­tive Party mem­ber at the time.

On Thurs­day, the Al­berta NDP shared a let­ter ad­dressed to an Ed­mon­ton pub­lic school trustee from Marty Moore, staff lawyer for the JCCF.

It refers to the “need to amend safe and car­ing poli­cies.” Moore con­firmed Thurs­day he au­thored the let­ter, and sent sim­i­lar let­ters to ev­ery pub­lic and Catholic school board in Al­berta.

The let­ter said leg­isla­tive changes in­tro­duced in spring by the United Con­ser­va­tive Party gov­ern­ment should prompt the Ed­mon­ton pub­lic school board to change poli­cies that “keep se­crets from par­ents about their chil­dren’s in­volve­ment in cer­tain stu­dent or­ga­ni­za­tions or ac­tiv­i­ties.”

In an in­ter­view, Moore said he be­lieves poli­cies in use by Ed­mon­ton Catholic and Ed­mon­ton pub­lic schools vi­o­late the char­ter be­cause they limit prin­ci­pals to dis­clos­ing only whether or not a gay-straight al­liance or other stu­dent club ex­ists at the school.

The for­mer NDP gov­ern­ment re­quired schools to use that pol­icy lan­guage in the School Act.

The UCP gov­ern­ment re­placed the School Act with an amended Ed­u­ca­tion Act in Bill 8, which rolled back re­quire­ments of schools to pro­tect LGBTQ stu­dent and staff rights.

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