We as parents of students in Foremost School wish to express our deep concerns over the recent publication from the Alberta Government.
We agree that all people, staff and students should be respected, cared for, safe and not bullied when attending Alberta schools.
We strongly feel that the guidelines in this document do NOT accomplish this goal. Rather it will negatively affect ALL students and staff regardless of their standpoint on this issue. The document states that the guidelines will “[create] learning environments that are welcoming, caring, respectful and safe for students, staff, families and all other members of the school community”. But it is obvious that these guidelines will have the exact opposite effect:
– Instead of enhancing a learning environment this suggests spending time energy and money that will detract from providing the educational programming that is already suffering, especially in rural areas.
– Rather than welcoming and including it will harmfully identify staff/students that differ thereby dividing and segregating.
– Rather than creating caring and respectful environments it will actively foster situations of bullying and disrespect.
– Rather than feeling safe, parents, more than ever, are worried for the safety of ALL the children/students – these guidelines would especially put girls at much greater risk than ever before. Irregardless of what people may “believe” about this subject, the FACT remains that there are two distinct and identifiably different physical beings. Historically and currently separate male and female facilities exist for this difference. This IS the “best practice”. We are outraged that we have to explain this most basic of truth to seemingly intelligent human beings who occupy positions of power in our government. Allowing physically different beings into the same private facility is dangerous, irresponsible, irrational and absurd.
It is outrageous that the guidelines suggest that, for example, a girl who does not want to change her clothes for gym class with a boy in the girls change room will have to leave.
It is outrageous that “self-identification is the sole measure of an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression”. This will allow children license without consequence. Abuse of this policy WILL be a natural outcome.
It is outrageous that these guidelines are imposing time, energy and money constraints upon our School Boards to deal with a situation that did NOT previously exist in many school boards across Alberta. Our District School Board Trustee was asked whether this has been a major problem or if there are many cases regarding this issue before now, to which the answer was, “Not one.” It has been discovered that this is the same for many school boards. We are concerned that major real needs have been expressed such as rural bussing, staffing, programming and other budget issues to which there is “no funding” for. The Minister of Education is yet to respond to our issue of bussing that was raised last year. Therefore, in our case and many other school boards across Alberta, there are real needs getting little to no attention while the government has created an issue where one did NOT exist.
It is outrageous that the guidelines will impose others to address individuals with names and pronouns that are contrary to their own personal beliefs. Many people in Alberta believe that male and female is NOT merely physical, but, in fact, are the only two genders that are congruent with their physical gender. Forcing them to address others with peculiar names and pronouns is an affront to their beliefs.
It is outrageous that a political party could undermine the moral fibre of an entire province against their collective will.
It is outrageous that a newly elected party would micro manage and usurp School Boards that have devoted many decades to the education, care and protection of our students.
We are asking for no less than an immediate abolition of these “guidelines”. It has been expressed by us personally and other parents that the implementation of these guidelines in our school will break our trust in the safety of our children at school (i.e. boys permitted in girls bathrooms). Therefore parents have expressed their desire to remove their students from our school which values and needs every student.
Finally, to the NDP: you have been elected to represent the people of Alberta and not merely your own ideas. You are continually breaking the trust of the majority of Albertans. Please begin putting Albertans first or call an election.
George & Tara Mills