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Cindy Lee
Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer
Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des Élèves du Secondaire au Canada
cindyl@fcss-fesc.ca
+1 (289) 643-6262

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 8, 2016


FCSS-FESC Supports Alberta's New LGTBQ Policy

Responding to two of Alberta’s private schools’ refusal to follow the province’s new LGBTQ policy

TORONTO, ONTARIO, SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 — Recent news from Alberta reveals that two private schools have refused to accept the province’s new LGBTQ policy, an issue that has seriously concerned the Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des Élèves du Secondaire au Canada (FCSS-FESC). At the start of the year, Education Minister David Eggen stated that school boards would construct a transgender policy by the end of March. While some agreed to move forward with this decision, others strongly resisted, including the Catholic and Christian school boards. This prompted Eggen to select consultants to help shape the province’s policies, which in turn, sparked dissent. “There is no way under heaven I'm going to allow gay activists to come in here and basically undermine our ministries and our religious freedoms or confuse and corrupt our children,” said Pastor Brian Coldwell of the Independent Baptist Christian Education Society. "I'm not going to allow the minister of education to appoint anyone to come in here.”

On Friday, Eggen addressed Coldwell’s comments: "As minister of education, one of my top priorities is ensuring that all students, regardless of sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity, are provided with safe and caring learning environments.” Not only that, but Eggen also addressed the students directly: “You have the right to create a gay-straight alliance or a queer-straight alliance, and you have the right to name your clubs this way. You have the right to use the washroom that is consistent with your gender identity.” The FCSS-FESC wholly supports Minister Eggen and his decision to help Alberta progress into a LGBTQ accepting society, as it ensures that “you [students] have rights that your schools will respect.” As an advocate of safe and healthy school environments, the FCSS-FESC wholly supports Minister Eggen’s statements; its promise of safety assurance and equal rights for all students is a must in today’s schools. Furthermore, the overwhelming benefits of this policy can be foreseen from numerous studies, which all unanimously conclude that LGBTQ rights help improve safety and lives.

In fact, studies conducted by the Williams Institute have demonstrated that there is “a positive relationship between LGBTQ-supportive policies,” and “few or none [studies] find a negative or no relationship.” Researchers found out that the anti-discrimination and accepting openness of such policies lead to favourable outcomes, including, but not limited to: increased job commitment, stronger relationships, greater productivity, and improved health. These factors increased the quality of an individual’s life, which promoted safe and happy environments and relationships. Moreover, these outcomes were easily applied to the workplace; researchers found that the increased productivity and motivation led to more successful businesses. Thus, for students become happily engaged in their workplace, a safe and accepting environment is a key to success — a fully entailed detail in the LGBTQ policy.

As an organization that aims to ensure the safety and health of all Canadian students, the FCSS-FESC supports Minister Eggen’s new LGBTQ policy, as it will provide numerous positive benefits for both students and schools. As research has shown, the willingness to accept these policies have helped individuals lead safe and happy lifestyles — the absence of such respective policies would not provide positive impacts on students, nor would it teach acceptance and open-mindedness. Overall, the FCSS-FESC urges the Catholic and Christian school boards of Alberta to accept the province’s LGBTQ policy, as it is another step to ensuring a safe and diverse school environment for the students of Alberta.

The Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des Élèves du Secondaire au Canada (FCSS-FESC) aims to deliver the student voice to education stakeholders, when it is often forgotten in daily discourse. We are a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that is led completely by youth. Together, we are the largest student alliance of its kind in Canada. Our programmes supplement public education with networking events, leadership opportunities, peer mentorship, and conferences. Our events are designed to guide Canadian youth of today and ensure their successful tomorrow, while working to improve education today.

For any sources used in this release, contact the Office for Communications and Public Information at contact@fcss-fesc.ca.

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