Home-schooling parents protest education act
Hundreds of home-schooling parents demonstrated at the Alberta legislature on Monday because they fear the new Education Act will prevent them from teaching their beliefs to their children.
The protesters are angry about a section in Bill 2 which states school programming must respect the Alberta Human Rights Act.
Parent Chris Butler called the bill an intrusion into the homes of Albertans.
"The government has no right mandating what parents can and cannot teach their children as far as the values, the morals, the religious beliefs," said Butler, who schools his four children at home.
"This is going to give the government the hammer to come down and dictate to parents what they can and cannot teach their children."
A number of amendments have already been added to the bill including a preamble that Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk said will protect parents' rights. He added that the province is fine with parents teaching what they like to their children.
"A large number of people who are protesting and facing me but yet at the same time believe in exactly the same things that I believe," Lukazuk said at Monday's protest, to jeers from the crowd.
But some parents say the changes don't go far enough, and they worry that future education ministers may differ from Lukaszuk in how they interpret the act.
"I believe him as a person but the thing is that his intention honestly doesn't matter," said Paul van den Bosch, with the Alberta Home Education Association. "What's the intention of the law? What are the words of the law?"
The bill is expected to receive third and final reading by Wednesday.