Statement From Education Minister On Amendments To Bill 13 - Accepting Schools Act
Laurel Broten, Minister of Education, issued the following statement today regarding amendments to Bill 13 - the Accepting Schools Act, 2012:
"I want to thank everyone - students, teachers, parents, support groups and education and community stakeholders - who spoke at our committee hearings on Bill 13, the proposed Accepting Schools Act.
During those hearings, we heard loud and clear that it is important that students who want to establish student-led, single-issue groups like gay-straight alliances in their schools should be supported and allowed to do so. We also heard that they should be allowed to call these groups "gay-straight alliances" or other similar names.
That's why I am proud to announce that our government has introduced amendments to the proposed Accepting Schools Act that, if passed, would state that:
- neither the board nor the principal shall refuse to allow a pupil to use the name gay-straight alliance or a similar name;
- the name of an activity or organization must be consistent with the promotion of a positive school climate that is inclusive and accepting of all pupils; and
- all boards shall comply with this section in a way that does not adversely affect any right of a pupil guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
We know that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students too often feel unsafe at school. We know the power of words can create fear and pain, and spread hatred, homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, sexism and racism. And we know that if we can't name it, we can't address it.
That's why the proposed Accepting Schools Act is clear about our commitment to safe schools for all students, including LGBT students. It would also make it clear that homophobic, transphobic or biphobic bullying is not acceptable. Our amendments further support this position and commitment.
Every student has the right to feel safe and accepted at school."