Westwind School Division is currently developing a policy about LGBTQ issues and bullying. The focus of this policy is to ensure that our schools are excellent, safe, and caring learning environments for everyone. Westwind has had an excellent Safe and Caring Schools policy for many years. We are committed to serving the best interests of every student in all our schools.
The Provincial Government has recently made changes to the Alberta Human Rights Act and the Alberta School Act. Westwind is working hard to develop a policy that addresses our updated legislated responsibilities. We will ensure that the new policy respects the basis of human dignity of all people.
There is strong concern about these issues across the province. We want to assure our students, staff, parents, and community members that we are aware of these concerns. We will create a policy that meets the new legislated requirements and responsibly addresses the needs of all students.
Historically, when an identifiable group receives specific legal rights or protections, other people become concerned. They question what rights they may have lost, if their rights have been infringed upon, and what impact the changes may have on their lives. Each one of us is responsible for our beliefs and behaviours relating to the laws of the land, whether we agree or disagree with them. We want to encourage everyone to engage in respectful dialogue that seeks understanding and to maintain the human rights of all students and citizens.
Westwind Trustees and Administration are very attuned to these principles. We are committed to assessing, planning for, creating, and sustaining exceptional learning environments for all students.
Please use the following information to support your understanding and discussions
- Guidelines for Best Practices: Creating Learning Environments that Respect Diverse Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Gender Expressions (Alberta Education)
- LGBTQ Students: A Guide for Counsellors (The Society for Safe and Caring Schools & Communities)
- Information Guide: LGBTQ Rights in Schools (Canadian Civil Liberties Association)
- March 10, 2015: Bill 10 to allow gay-straight alliances for any student in alberta schools (CBC News)
- November 6, 2015: Alberta tells all school boards to create LGBTQ-inclusive policies (Global News)
- December 8, 2015: Gender identity, expression to be protected in Alberta Human Rights Code (Edmonton Journal)
- January 13, 2016: Alberta students to define their own gender: 5 big changes in new school guidelines (CBC News)