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(Photo: Submitted by Kristin Cavoukian

School district DEC member says councils not consulted on Policy 713

By Tara Clow Jun 9, 2023 | 1:07 PM

According to Education Minister Bill Hogan, Policy 713 changes were the result of consultations with groups, parents and teachers.

But a member of the Anglophone East District Education Council says they were never asked to respond.

Kristin Cavoukian says Councils were ignored, “To my knowledge, none of the district education councils in this province were consulted during the so-called consultations on these changes. Now, Hogan and Higgs claim they want to respect the wishes of parents. Parents elected us and removing the power making decisions from District Education Council and writing them out of the process, this means that the entire process was illegitimate.”

Cavoukian also questions where the funds are coming from for extra resources to support policy changes.

“One of the things that the newly rewritten Policy 713 currently relies upon is the idea of extra counsellors and extra support from schools. Extra counsellors and extra support will require extra staff to be hired and extra funding. Is there any new money that the government is setting aside for this? Show us the money in the plan. As far as I know, there is no money. There is no plan and all there is here is a terribly worded and badly written policy that’s going to endanger children.”

Hogan insisted that school staff will not be outing LGBTQ+ students to their parents.

He said school professionals, such as social workers or psychologists, will work with students to help them speak with their parents — if and when they are ready to do so.

“Under the policy as it currently stands, if an elementary student changes their gender identity and name, the school is required to make a plan to support the change at school, but it is, in essence, hidden from their parents unless the child gives permission to share that with them,” said Hogan.

“We believe that it’s fundamentally wrong to not share this information with parents if we are using it on a daily basis. It puts teachers in a really challenging position.”

For students aged 16 and over, school staff with consult with the student and use their preferred first name and pronouns “in ways that the student has requested.”

With files from Brad Perry.


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