Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


Kelly Lamrock is New Brunswick's child, youth and seniors' advocate. Image: Submitted

Watchdog asks N.B. to pause review of LGBTQ school policy

By Brad Perry May 17, 2023 | 6:01 AM

New Brunswick should stop reviewing its LGBTQ+ school policy until clear goals are in place, according to the province’s child and youth advocate.

That is one of the recommendations from Kelly Lamrock in response to the government’s review of Policy 713.

Lamrock said the province’s “broken and incoherent” review process was launched without “care or seriousness.”

“I think everyone’s intentions are good here, but if you are not very specific and clear about what you’re reviewing, you can wind up platforming a lot of hate and that hate can reach a lot of vulnerable ears of kids who are at risk,” Lamrock said in an interview Tuesday.

Implemented in 2020, Policy 713 is meant to ensure there is a supportive environment for students, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Advocate provided with only 3 complaints from province

Education Minister Bill Hogan said they decided to review the policy after receiving “hundreds” of complaints surrounding it.

But when Lamrock asked to see the complaints that led to the review, the Department of Education sent him only three emails.

“Those three, frankly, seem to be criticizing a policy that might exist in the fever swamps of the internet but have nothing to do with Policy 713,” he said.

Lamrock said he cannot think of any other case where three emails in 30 months has been the threshold for the review of government policy.

“I am not sure any government decision could survive if receiving three complaints led to reconsideration,” the advocate said in his findings to the government.

He also noted that there were no benchmarks in place to measure the success or failure of the policy.

“The Department is attributing the change to the public response, and that public response is not at a level that has been applied to other government policies affecting the general population,” Lamrock wrote.

Lamrock said the province needs to make it clear which portions of the policy are and are not being reviewed, and it needs to allow input from educators, students and district education councils.

You can view the advocate’s full response to the government and his recommendations by clicking here.

Premier responds to advocate’s report

During question period in the legislature on Tuesday, Premier Blaine Higgs offered more details about which sections of the policy are being looked at.

He said one is the provision that allows students under the age of 16 to change their preferred first name and pronouns without telling their parents.

“We need to understand that policy and why parents don’t play any role. We do believe it is important for parents to know what their children are doing,” said Higgs.

In the current policy, transgender or non-binary students under 16 require parental consent for their preferred first name to be officially used for recordkeeping purposes and daily management

Before contacting a parent, the principal must have informed consent from the student to discuss their preferred name with the parent.

“If it is not possible to obtain parental consent for the use of the preferred first name, a plan will be put in place to support the student in managing the use of the preferred name in the learning environment,” said the policy.

Higgs said the government is also looking at the process of “team sport selection and participation.”

Policy 713 allows all students to participate in extracurricular activities that are “safe, welcoming, and consistent with their gender identity.”

The premier said they will also look at “the age appropriateness of what is being taught in the classroom when it comes to sexual education,” though curriculum is not part of Policy 713.


Leave a Reply