It was indeed a great irony that the words from Education Minister Eggen’s mouth last week in response to questions about cell phone use in Alberta schools were, “I trust Alberta’s teachers and school boards to make their own rules regarding the use of cell phones in their classrooms” (Mar. 13, CTV News).
It’s a shame he didn’t see fit to extend similar trust in other areas. Instead, under the façade of his government’s “safe and caring” school policy (the poorly written and unconstitutional Bill 24), he succeeded in removing the rights of each and very Alberta parent to know if their K-12 child, that’s right, kindergarten to Grade 12, is being exposed to sexual content through clubs and activities offered in Alberta schools. Eggen and the NDP have passed a law that does not trust any Alberta parent to make a wise, caring, independent and moral choice about their child’s exposure to and involvement in an organization or activity that relates to sexuality or gender during school hours.
As a result of Bill 24, there are currently no controls over what information and materials are given, by whom, or even whether students can leave the school grounds without parental consent in regards to gay-straight alliance clubs and activities. If you want to read just one example of what happened as a result of this legislation, go to Licia Corbella’s Dec. 4, 2018 Calgary Herald coverage of a current case in the Alberta Court of Appeal. Hang onto your hat, it will infuriate every decent citizen of any political stripe, culture and religious affiliation, or non-affiliation. The education system has no business undermining parental authority and involvement. And for those rare and tragic cases where a child’s safety is indeed in jeopardy, there are already legal and societal provisions in place to intervene. Why accuse all parents as being unfit to handle difficult or sensitive issues?
The words “safe and caring” are an obvious and worthy goal to achieve not only in our schools but in our society as a whole. Using such a noble phrase to deceive Alberta parents is appalling. It’s even worse to be called a variety of nasty names if one dares question the legal or moral right of the minister or the government school system to have such absolute control over our children.
If you are shocked by this (and who wouldn’t be), I invite you to look at the wording of Bill 24 and see for yourself. I also invite you to become well-informed and ask some hard questions as you prepare to cast your vote in the election. To help equip your understanding on this issue, go to Parents for Choice in Education (PCE), a non-partisan organization advocating for an excellent, quality-oriented, choice-driven educational system which recognizes parental authority.