Wildrose MLA slams education minister for prohibiting parental notification on GSAs
MLA Mark Smith also slammed David Eggen for interfering in course teaching girls about hairstyles
Wildrose MLA Mark Smith criticized the education minister in the legislature Thursday for a letter he sent earlier this week informing schools they are not allowed to tell parents if their child joins a gay-straight alliance.
"The government has ordered schools not to inform parents in any circumstances if their children attend a GSA as if he believes the government is the guardian of those children," he said in a member's statement.
"While the government has a duty of protection, it cannot use that as an excuse to restrict parental authority and informed decision making as outlined by the law."
- Education minister orders 2 Christian schools to allow LGBTQ groups
- 'Women studies' course at rural Alberta school draws intervention from province
- Wildrose leader says position on GSAs remains unchanged despite media report
Eggen sent a letter to school boards across the province on Monday that they were not to notify parents about children joining a GSA in any circumstance.
Smith took aim at Eggen for issuing an order to the Meadows Baptist Academy in Edmonton and Harvest Baptist Academy in Parkland County north of Spruce Grove to allow GSAs in their school.
'Not the minister's call'
He also slammed Eggen's decision last month to tell a school in Clyde to change a "women studies" course offered to girls in grades 6 to 9.
The curriculum included instruction on hairstyles, dinner parties, recipes and interior decor. Eggen said ministry officials would be seeking immediate changes to the course.
Smith suggested Eggen overstepped his authority.
"Not the minister's call," Smith said.
Last week, PC Leader Jason Kenney raised the ire of LGBTQ advocates for saying in an interview that parents should be notified if their child joins a GSA unless the parent is abusive. He said parents have the right to know what is happening with their children in school.
On Monday, Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said notification was not appropriate, only to seemingly walk his statement back the next day. On Wednesday, Jean clarified that the only times he thought notification was appropriate was when the student asks for it or when the student is at risk of self-harm.