Education Minister David Eggen releases a new resource to assist school boards in drafting policies to support welcoming, caring, respectful and safe schools.
Alberta Education has created a document called “Guidelines for Best Practices: Creating Learning Environments that Respect Diverse Sexual Orientations, Gender Expressions and Gender Identities” to assist school authorities when addressing the needs of individuals with diverse sexual orientations, gender expressions and gender identities.
The guidelines are also reflective of recent policy shifts in the Alberta Human Rights Act, Alberta Bill of Rights and provincial School Act. They were based on content created by the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. As part of the development process, Alberta Education staff consulted with a range of provincial experts who contributed valuable feedback.
The guidelines show what learning environments that respect diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions look like.
“We have pledged to support school boards, as they are required to provide their policies for welcoming, caring, respectful and safe schools by the end of March. These guidelines are designed to aid boards in meeting this requirement.” Minister Eggen added, “I am confident that all will act in the best interest of their students, their families and staff. Together, we can spur real change and what better place to do so than right in Alberta’s classrooms.”
In November 2015, Minister Eggen directed all school boards to share these policies by March 31, 2016. As part of the review, school boards must show evidence of having policy and regulations or procedures related specifically to their obligations under the School Act.