The Gay and Lesbian Association of the Peace is throwing its support behind some new Alberta legislation.
Bill 24 would make sure students who join gay-straight alliances in school are not “outed” to their parents or guardians without their permission.
GALAP Director Chancie Kluyt says it is important for these amendments to be added.
“We don’t think [the legislation] should be open to interpretation and it should be very exact in what the Act says. I think that is why this Act came about…because there was some grey area there and kind of a loop-hole where people were exploiting that. It didn’t explicitly state that,” said Kluyt following the Bill being tabled Thursday.
Kluyt explains that people’s privacy should be respected, even if it is a child or teen.
“Coming out is a very individual process. That person should be the only person deciding when and where they want to come out, and to whom. Especially when safety is a concern, at home or with other people…that is the primary importance; to make sure that the student is protected.”
The Bill looks to have school principals “immediately grant permission for the establishment of the student organization”. It would also have an adult supervisor for the club appointed within a reasonable time. These amendments come as some superintendents and school boards have gotten in the way of the creation of G.S.A. clubs in schools.
If the legislation is passed, any school that breaks the rules could be investigated and it could lead to public funding being withheld or loss of accreditation.
Earlier this year, the New UCP Leader Jason Kenney said decisions about what information is released to parents is best left in the hands of teachers and principals. He says that his caucus will have more to say on the Bill once it is reviewed.
With files from Jordan Parker