Public schools address sexual orientation and gender identity

  • Oct. 21, 2015 2:47 p.m.

With unanimous support, the Board of Trustees for the Red Deer Public School District (RDPSD) have given initial approval to a new policy addressing sexual orientation and gender identity.

The policy was created to address the issue of student and staff well-being in schools, and to support an environment where community members are not in a place of fear. The policy will promote proactive strategies and guidelines that work to ensure students, staff and families are welcomed, included and free of discrimination.

Bev Manning, chair of the Board of Trustees, said she is pleased to see how the policy has been welcomed by the school community. “I have been very encouraged by our community,” Manning said.

“I felt supported in having the discussions and I feel our discussions have been respectful. When everybody is treating one another with respect and we are talking about things that matter to kids and families in our community, I think we’re all lifted higher. I really feel that’s what we have accomplished with these discussions and how this policy has been developed. I look forward to that continuing.”

Manning said conversations began around a year ago to develop a better policy in addressing the safety, well-being and education quality of students and staff who are ridiculed for their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The proposed policy will be referred to principals, school staffs, school councils, the Coordinating Committee and the general community for further input, before returning to the Board for further changes and possible adaptation.

“It’s not a matter of acceptance – it is a matter of procedures and guidelines for our District staff to help them in doing their jobs properly,” Manning said.

“That’s what policy is all about. When we create policy, what we’re looking for is a consistency among our staff and students. What we’re looking for is to make sure people feel safe. We want to provide the best education possible to every student who walks through our doors, no matter what they bring with them. No matter what you bring, you are entitled to and deserve the same education experience and the best education that we can provide.”

Manning explained there has been and will continue to be an extensive consultation process between community and school members. “This is to deal with all of our students and staff – whatever they bring to us, we want them to feel safe. That means whatever people identify as – whether that is transgender, or gay, lesbian, bi, questions, queer – we accept everyone just as they are. We want to make sure our schools are safe places for them – that’s where this discussion and policy came from,” Manning said.

“We sort of began our discussion last year and took our time to evaluate what the best way to bring forth a policy was. We did a bunch of research into other policies and eventually we came out with this one. We had some help drafting it and we think it’s a good start.”

kmendonsa@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Jason Klaus testifies during cross-examination that he confessed during investigation

Accused tells court he could never have killed his family

Red Deer CFR details coming next week

Red Deerians invited to presentation of proposal

Scoring books at the Rebels game

Books on the Bus program teams up with Rebels for book drive

Innisfail RCMP respond to home invasion

Male victim sustained non-life threatening head injury

Mountie seriously injured in early morning collision near Devon

An erratic driver is said to have collided with an RCMP cruiser

WATCH: Red Deerians come together to ‘light the night’

Traditional Red Deer Lights the Night sees thousands

Black Friday fervour wanes as some consumers, retailers shun practice

Some businesses are choosing to opt out, while some shoppers are turning to buying online

Trudeau apologizes to excluded residential school students

PM makes statement to former students in Nfld who were left out of previous compensation, apology

BC RCMP hunt for white SUV that rammed cruiser

Kamloops RCMP are looking for a white SUV headed north on the Yellowhead Highway

Canadian screen stars want ‘action’ from industry meeting on sexual misconduct

‘Of course there’s been sexual harassment here. Absolutely. No question.’

Opioid prescriptions up across Canada: report

The report shows the number of opioid prescriptions rose by almost seven per cent, while daily doses on average dropped

Russian meddling has implications for Canada

Kosovo president Hashim Thaci warns that Russian meddling has implications for Canada

Health Canada hints at government’s plans for legal pot

Health warnings, plain covers for pot packs under proposed regulations

Most Read