July 20th, 2024

SD76 passes sexual orientation and gender policy amendments

By Tim Kalinowski on May 16, 2017.

NEWS PHOTO TIM KALINOWSKI Trustee Terry Riley speaks the SD76's Policy 622 on Sexual Orientation and Gender at Tuesday's board of trustees meeting. The board passed two amendents intended to mollify some parents who still have concerns.

tkalinowski@medicinehatnews.com @MHNTimKal

The SD76 board of trustees voted unanimously to approve two amendments proposed to their Policy 622 on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, but stood by their decision to not disclose to parents if a child joins a GSA or asks that their gender or sexual orientation disclosure be kept from parents.

The two amendments read as follows:

“When a student discloses, staff will encourage, without coercion, the student to communicate with their parents/guardians and seek their support.”

And:

“All future amendments to this policy shall be in accordance with the existing policy amendment procedures.”

This second amendment replaces the statement on the previous incarnation of the policy that read, “This policy is to be reviewed annually by the board of trustees.”

Trustee Terry Riley said he hoped these amendments would signal an end to the matter for all involved, but chided those who argue schools should be required to disclose their children’s issues with gender or sexual identity if asked not to do so.

“We have met with these parents on four or five different occasions. We have provided information on how to (properly) give input through to the policy, but ultimately the law is the law, and we as trustees swore an oath we would abide by Alberta legislation… Not to proceed with that policy (622) at that time would have been a violation of that oath.”

Trustee Deborah Forbes concurred with Riley’s assessment, and added the board had done its due diligence to ensure the best possible language and intent in its policy.

“There has never been a policy we have taken so much time on, or so much diligence or so much consultation on as this policy. So I am satisfied with the consultation we have done with our parent/guardian community, and our school and student communities.”

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