Education minister tells Catholic board to pass transgender policy

Education Minister David Eggen is waiting before intervening in a dispute among trustees on the the Edmonton Catholic School Board over a draft inclusivity policy for transgender students.

David Eggen warns of 'consequences' if board continues acrimonious debate

Education Minister David Eggen urges Catholic School Board to adopt 'coherent' transgender policy 0:50

Education Minister David Eggen is waiting before intervening in a dispute among trustees on the the Edmonton Catholic School Board over a draft inclusivity policy for transgender students.

On Wednesday night, board trustees shouted at each other and made inflammatory remarks during a tense meeting.

At the meeting, the mother of a seven-year-old transgender girl urged trustees to pass the policy that would allow her daughter to use the girl's washroom at her elementary school.

In the end, the board voted 5-2 to postpone the matter until they have more information from parents and church officials.  

Eggen said he found the meeting "disturbing" and some of the comments "entirely inappropriate." He expects trustees to work together to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

"It's important for all elected officials to adhere to a high standard, both for decorum and constructive debate," he said. 

"I heard neither of those things last night. And what is a sensitive and important issue in terms of human rights broke and dissolved into acrimony and I don't expect that I will see that again and, if so, there will be consequences."

Eggen spoke to board chair Debbie Engel this morning. He said she told him the board will work on a policy for transgender students.

He said he will be monitoring the situation closely. He said the board is compelled by law to provide a safe, caring and secure environment for all students. 

"We intend to follow through with that commitment," he said. "Our government has never wavered in our commitment to transgender students and we expect Edmonton Catholic to do none the less, as well."

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