By Lethbridge Herald on February 2, 2024.
Alejandra Pulido-Guzman – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – email@example.com
Lethbridge School Division on Thursday issued a statement regarding the possible impact of new Alberta transgender policies.
After releasing a video speaking about new transgender policies in the province on Wednesday, Premier Danielle Smith addressed the media Thursday which prompted the statement from LSD.
Smith started her press conference by addressing transgender individuals by stating she cares deeply about their wellbeing and happiness.
“I support you in becoming the person that you want to be or who you already are, and as premier of this province I will ensure your rights are always protected,” said Smith.
And when referring to children who identify as transgender, Smith said these policies are being implemented to protect their choices regarding altering their physical body until they have grown mature enough to make such choices safely and with full understanding.
“These policies include a prohibition on gender reassignment surgeries for minors aged 17 and under, for children aged 15 and under puberty blockers and hormone therapies for the purpose of gender reassignment will also not be permitted, with the exception of those who’ve already commenced their treatment,” said Smith.
She added that at this time for minors aged 16 and 17 who wish to start hormone therapies for gender reassignment purposes, this will only be permitted with parental, physician and psychologist approval and consent.
“In our classrooms, we will ensure discussions about gender identity and other sensitive subjects happen at the right time and with the parent-child relationship at its core. This will include a parental opt-in consent requirement when teachers plan to discuss subject matter related to gender identity, sexual orientation, or sexuality for K-12 students,” she said.
Smith said in addition, children aged 15 and under will require parental notification and consent before their name or pronouns are changed in school.
“For minors age 16 and 17 parental consent won’t be required for this, but parents will be have to be notified.”
To this the Lethbridge School Division, which follows Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) policies within their schools, released the following statement.
“Lethbridge School Division is committed to creating welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments for our students, families and school staff. Parental support and communication between schools and parents, guardians and caregivers are at the core of this commitment. As always, the Division will continue to work closely with parents, guardians, and caregivers as essential partners in the educational process.
“Our division continues to support every student that enters our schools each and every day,” said board chair Allison Purcell.
“We will continue to work together with our students, staff and families as we continue this journey. There are many unanswered questions regarding implementation of the changes outlined in the government announcement. As a Board we will continue to ask important questions. We are thinking of our transgender students and families as they navigate how this may impact them.”
The statement adds that the Alberta Education Act directs boards to provide notice to a parent of a student where courses, programs of study or instructional materials or instruction or exercises include subject matter that deals primarily and explicitly with religion or human sexuality.
“The Act gives parents the option to exclude their child from instruction on these topics, without academic penalty. Clarification is being sought on what the government’s new opt-in requirement, officially announced today, will entail.”