Open Letter to Jonathan Teghtmeyer-ATA News Editor-in-Chief

Sent March 10, 2016 in Response to: Myth-busting needed in LGBTQ debate
Open letter sent by Theresa Ng, Informed Albertans, to Minister Eggen
Dear Jonathan Teghtmeyer,
I am writing this open letter-which will be shared as far and wide as is possible-regarding your article in the ATA magazine, Myth-busting needed in LGBTQ debate. First please make a public correction to the misinformation in your article. While Parents for Choice in Education (PCE) would love to take responsibility for the ‘twitter bomb’ campaign, we were not the developers of this campaign. Theresa Ng, a very courageous and dedicated former teacher and parent, from InformedAlbertans, initiated this campaign and we were more than happy to support her efforts.
Secondly, twitter is not a medium used by most parents concerned about these guidelines and Bill 10, but regardless we were very impressed with the brave parents and citizens who retained twitter handles for the day in an effort to ‘trend’ and finally make our deep concerns for all of our children heard. It was a great success!
Ironically, it was primarily a success because of the massive backlash that these brave citizens faced. In fact many still advocate for the safety and care of Alberta children from a position of anonymity because PCE and others that publicly oppose Bill 10 and the guidelines face the very bullying that anti-bullying legislation and guidelines are tasked to prevent.
Needless to say, we were overwhelmed with attacks. You may be surprised that we were grateful for the attacks, because we ‘trended’ across Canada as a result. This would not have happened without the assistance of all the name calling and bullying from many (not all) on twitter that day. A big shout out to the bullies. As a result organizations like the ATA are now, though incorrectly, calling us out be name. We will take that, over silence. Thank you!
Finally, I want to remind you that PCE has a website where we state our concerns quite clearly and distinctly. I have personally also done forums and interviews that can be easily accessed at our site. It is intriguing to PCE that you listed many concerns PCE have not even mentioned in our literature and work. As Editor-in-Chief I would think that you would have engaged in some basic investigative work for your column.
That being said, the fact that many are concerned with various guidelines does not make those concerns myths. We may have a difference of opinion as to the ramifications of a variety of guidelines (like the manipulation of language in literature -removing mother and father- and the illegal name changing of students without engaging vital statistics or parents) but that does not make our concerns ill informed and yours correct.
I will speak to the central issue PCE opposes in Bill 10 and the guidelines, mentioned last in your article. I want to begin by thanking you for finally giving PCE a direct quote that confirms that every time Minister Eggen says schools must follow the letter of the law (a vague statement by design) he is actually stating: “The Code of Professional Conduct and Bill 10 provide legal frameworks that prevent teachers from outing students-even to their parents.” 
We thank you for finally giving clarification to Minister Eggen’s vague statement. The stripping of parental notification and their involvement in schools around the support of LGBTQ children has already been codified in LAW. Our petition requests that this be reversed with amendments or the full recall of Bill 10.
You need only listen to my radio interview on 770 with Danielle Smith, or read my columns, to hear why PCE is opposed to any law which strips the parent’s right to be informed of the fact that their children are identifying as being a member of a population at high risk for suicide and self-harm. The fact that the ATA believes it is sound to force children to decide when to  ‘come out’ to parents, their most important allies, is incredibly alarming to Parents for Choice in Education. You are meant to be a bulwark for children and a mentor to teachers and yet you relinquish all your adult responsibility on the shoulders of the most vulnerable children in your schools, rather than take the adult role as a mediator for that child, so that child can safely and soundly inform parents of his/her struggles.
May I suggest that you do more sound investigative journalism before putting pen to paper in the future. In the meantime, allow me to offer you some information so you can be more thorough and grounded in your future work.
First a recent interview: Corus 770-Bill 10 Opposition-Donna Trimble-Parents for Choice in Education
2016-03-08 NDP should take a measured approach to bullying in schools (1)
2016-01-16 Calgary Herald An Alberta Parent's Call to Action
With all due respect,
Donna Trimble
Executive Director
Parents for Choice in Education
www.parentschoice.ca
 

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