EDMONTON, AB (December 3, 2014): The Wildrose Official Opposition will propose two amendments to Bill 10 – An Act to Amend the Alberta Bill of Rights to Protect Our Children – that will compel stronger protection for LGBTQ students and remove onerous legal appeals for students.
The first amendment would require schools to provide students with “a bona fide anti-bullying or other alternative support strategy that meets the needs” of students should they not provide a requested GSA.
The second amendment would provide a swift and free appeal panel process rather than forcing students to go through an expensive and cumbersome legal appeal. The appeal panel of no fewer than three individuals would either confirm board decisions or recommend how to better support students.
As it stands, Bill 10 allows schools and school boards to reject student requests for support without providing alternatives. It also outlines court appeals as the only recourse for students whose requests are denied.
“Bill 10 in its current form offers little to no protection for LGBTQ students. It must be strengthened,” Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said. “Our amendments wouldn’t allow schools or school boards to simply say ‘no’ and walk away. They will have to provide support to whoever requests it.”
Smith also said it’s completely unreasonable to expect students to mount legal appeals.
“Students are in no position to be hiring lawyers and challenging these decisions in court,” she said. “If our amendments are accepted, students will have an accessible appeal process readily available to them that will settle these matters.”
“Taken together, I believe these amendments find the right balance between the rights of LGTBQ students and the autonomy of locally elected school boards.”