Students, parents, and teachers in Wood Buffalo and the province are keeping an eye on the Alberta legislature.
The United Conservative government introduced its 2019 Education Act otherwise known as Bill 8.
However, much interest in Bill 8 is a provision that removes protections for students joining gay-straight alliances (GSA) in schools.
Linda Mywaart, board chair for the Fort McMurray Public School District (FMPSD), says the district supports their students.
“We believe deeply in providing a safe, caring, welcoming, and respectful environment for all of our students.”
Mywaart said the FMPSD’s Board Policy 19 lists protections and promotes inclusivity for students, staff, and families from the LGBTQ community.
They safeguard their health, safety, and confidentiality upon joining a GSA.
“Our Board Policy 19 may need to be reviewed to ensure it aligns with legislations and regulations, but our practice of meeting the diverse students, caring about them, and keeping them safe remains constant.”
Well before the introduction of Bill 8, the FMPSD board trustees had productive discussions.
They remain in constant communication with the Alberta School Board Association (ASBA) providing feedback to the Ministry of Education.
In the meantime, Linda Mywaart says the trustees are working hard to best serve students in Wood Buffalo.
“On the entire Education Act, school boards will be conversing with the [Education] Minister. The GSAs are one part of that and will certainly be one part of that discussion.”