Administrative Procedure 205

CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES IN THE CLASSROOM

Background

The Division recognizes that in following the curriculum prescribed by the province that students will be studying controversial issues. The study of such issues may benefit in preparing students to participate responsibly in a democratic and pluralistic society. Such study is to provide opportunities to develop student capacities to think clearly, to reason logically, to open-mindedly and respectfully examine the different points of view, and to reach sound judgements.

Definition

A controversial issue is a topic which is publicly sensitive and on which there is no consensus of values or belief. As a result, diverse opinions, distinct differences and varying interpretations may result in sincere disagreement.

Procedures

  1. Sensitivity on the part of teachers, students and other participants in controversial issues shall be exercised to ensure that students and others are not intentionally ridiculed, embarrassed, intimidated or degraded for positions which they hold on controversial issues.
     
  2. Information regarding controversial issues is to present differing points of view to the extent that:
    1. Approved resources are available,
    2. The maturity, ability and need of the student is reflected,
    3. Provincial curriculum requirements are met,
    4. Community standards are upheld.
       
  3. Controversial issues, whether pre-planned by the teacher or arising incidentally in class are to be used to promote critical inquiry rather than advocacy (i.e. how to think, not what to think.)
     
  4. School staff are to be supportive to parent(s) in the areas of values and moral development and shall handle parental decisions in regards to controversial issues with respect and sensitivity.
     

Reference

Section 11,18,32,33,41,52,53,58,58.1,58.2,196,197,222 Education Act

Alberta Bill of Rights

Alberta Human Rights Act

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Guide to Education ECS to Grade 12

 

Approved: June 11, 1996

Amended: October 11, 2001; August 21, 2018