Edmonton, AB (August 30, 2016):In light of the point blank refusal by two private schools to implement Gay-Straight Alliances and transgender policies, Dr. David Swann is calling on the Alberta Minister of Education to take action.
“This is precisely the situation where LGBTQ protections are most needed,” said Swann. “There is an antagonistic school board and a strong bias against the LGBTQ community. The legislation, supported by every provincial party, and the policies set forth by the government were created to provide kids with the right to be who they are. No organization, especially a school, should have the ability to take those rights away.”
The two private schools, run by the Baptist Christian Education Society, receive over half their funding from provincial coffers. Despite this, the chair of the board states he will not follow legislated LGBTQ regulations and he will not allow anyone appointed from Alberta Education to work with his schools to develop a new transgender policy.
Further, the chair of the board has suggested that if there was an LGBTQ student looking for help he would use the power of the gospel to ‘[deliver them] from that lifestyle.’ This is a clear reference to conversion therapy, a much discredited procedure that has been banned in several jurisdictions, including by the Province of Ontario.
“I am not only concerned with the LGBTQ policies,” said Swann. “This school is also clearly advocating the discredited and incredibly damaging theories of conversion therapy. This type of ‘therapy’ is widely opposed by experts in psychology, psychiatry and social work. There is no place for it in Alberta’s schools.”
“The defiance of the Baptist Christian Education Society is a clear challenge to the healthy and safe environment all children deserve,” Swann concluded. “The Minister must take quick and decisive action.”