The Alberta government passed amendments to Bill 10, the act to amend the Alberta Bill of Rights to Protect our Children on March 10 which will require school authorities to let students form gay-straight alliances (GSAs) and other such support groups on school property.
“Bill 10 provides school boards with clear rules about their responsibilities and provides enough flexibility and local autonomy to make the best decisions for their student and communities,” said David Heyman, press secretary for minister of education.
The bill was initially put on pause late last year but after listening to various groups throughout the province including parents, students, teachers, principals, school boards, and community leaders, Heyman said the province realized the majority of citizens want students to have the ability to create these types of peer-support groups at school.
“Promoting safe, dignified, respectful and inclusive education environments is one of the priorities of our government,” said Heyman. “Albertans have sent us a clear message. They expect government to have a clear and definitive role in supporting GSAs.”
The legislation allows students who want to start GSAs at their schools the support they need from the school board and if there is no teacher available at a particular school to help with a group the minister of education will select someone to assist with the group’s creation.
Students are also allowed to pick a respectful and inclusive name for their GSAs including “gay-straight alliance” or “queer-straight alliance” after speaking with their principal.
“Amendments to Bill 10 make it clear that school authorities are required to allow students to form groups and activities including gay-straight alliances and queer-straight alliances on school property if students express an interest in forming these peer-support groups.”
The amendments to the Alberta Bill of Rights and Education Act are in the process of awaiting royal assent. It is expected that they will come into force on June 1, 2015.