Thousands Rally May 14, 2016, at the Calgary McDouglall Centre
Who are the real extremists? Concerned parents, or those severing the parent-child bond?
Welcome to the brave new world in Alberta where those calling for parental involvement in the care of their own children are deemed ‘extremists’ by our own Education Minister David Eggen.
Many school board policies now coerce teachers into private one-on-one conversations of a sexual nature, with children of any age, unless the child permits the teacher to share the information.
So who holds the extreme position?
The extremist, according to the Education Minister, is Jason Kenney.
What terribly extreme statement did Kenney make?
“In some cases, informing parents would clearly be inappropriate. Longstanding laws and protocols exist to protect children from potentially abusive parents. I trust teachers, principals and school counsellors to exercise their judgment about such matters, and that there should be a presumption that most parents are loving and caring, seeking only what is best for their children.”
The gall of the man! Wanting to let parents be parents like that!
We, at Parents for Choice in Education (PCE), believe communication, not secrecy, should be the goal of all school policy. If a child is distressed about sexual or gender issues, then the goal should be to expand the support systems for the child, not to narrow them.
Narrowing supports to these at-risk youth endangers children.
For example, in the place of parents, a government-funded and recommended GSA Network website led children to sexually graphic material about sex toys, BDSM and advice to "pay for porn" for months.
How many 5 to 17-year-olds saw this material before 27% of the community support were removed? We have yet to hear that iSMSS (Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services), the individuals responsible for this inappropriate material, are not still key consultants with Alberta Education and the secretive curriculum re-write.
This is all the more reason for a teacher, or staff member, engaged in this conversation with a child to have a protocol in place that engages professional supports and initiates an intervention process that will help a child to engage their parents in the conversation at the earliest possible moment.
No teacher (a population already overburdened with a multitude of responsibilities) should be coerced by school policies to engage in secretive one-on-one conversations with at-risk youth on subjects of a sexual nature, especially without proper training.
PCE has consistently asked that legislation be amended to ensure that children work with parents, administrators and teachers so clubs effectively meet the needs of children, expand their sources of support, and are cohesive to the foundation of the school.
Does this make us extremist?
When Minister Eggen first offered the Guidelines for Best Practices to schools upon which to develop new policies I wrote: Who will be to blame if children are lost?
The parents, because they put their faith in the authorities and were unaware they were being kept ignorant of their child’s needs?
The teacher and school that hid the child’s struggles from the child’s parents?
Or the Alberta Government who voted anti-family Bill 10 into law, and followed up with such a dangerous guideline to isolate children from their parents?
Even more troubling, the Minister of Education’s threats and coercive language are escalating.
A March 29, 2017 Edmonton Sun article includes an admission by Minister Eggen stating, “law currently has no provision that stops school officials from notifying parents, but he’s ‘been looking into that very closely.’ ”
He took this further, as described in an April 3, 2017 Edmonton Journal Article. On April 3, 2017 NDP Education Minister Eggen sent an edict to all Alberta school boards, that they were not to "notify parents if their child joins a gay-straight alliance."
Will the NDP government codify state control of Alberta children under the law?
Those who advocate for parental involvement in the care of their own children?
Or the Government of Alberta who continues to chip away at the parent-child bond in our schools?