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


(Photo: From Anglophone East DEC meeting on Facebook)

Anglophone East DEC taking legal action over Policy 713

By Tara Clow Nov 23, 2023 | 12:22 PM

The Anglophone East district education council is heading to court over changes to New Brunswick’s school pronoun policy.

A motion from vice-chair Dominic Vautour was unanimously approved this week to put the wheels in motion.

It suggests the DEC continue retaining legal counsel for matters relating to Policy 713 to immediately begin proceedings to launch a charter challenge to seek a stay of recent changes.

“We’ve discussed this issue with our counterparts across the province and both linguistic systems and while I hope they will stand with us on this issue and join the fight, this can’t wait any longer. We must lead the change for everyone in this province,” Vautour says.

“We must set an example for our students and stand up for them and for their rights. We will make sure our education system is a safe place for everyone. We will not tolerate discrimination. We will stand up to bullies.”

Vautour told DEC members this crisis was brought on by the provincial government, which modified a policy and caused catastrophic consequences to the students.

“Since these changes were announced, we’ve heard from our students how much harm, fear, anxiety and uncertainty this is causing to our LGBTQ+ community. Additionally, it’s also causing stress, anxiety and fear to our staff who are scared to misstep and find themselves in a precarious situation personally, and professionally. We, as local elected representatives for education, have a moral obligation to protect all students and staff,” Vautour adds.

Teachers are no longer allowed to use a trans or non-binary child under 16’s preferred name or pronoun, formally or informally, without parental consent.

“Policy 713 in its first configuration, was actually to make sure that trans and non-binary youth were safe in our schools and felt welcome in our schools.  Thanks to the actions of this government, Policy 713 now stands for discrimination and the endangerment of our students,” added DEC member Kristin Cavoukian.

“I think it’s just such a sad state of affairs that in this province, this has come to pass. We’ve moved under the same government from adopting a policy to protect trans and non-binary youth to encouraging harassing discourse about trans and non-binary youth in the public sphere and bringing in a policy that literally meets the dictionary definition of discrimination and the legal definition of discrimination. I think that’s really sad.”

The DEC also voted unanimously to engage legal counsel to pursue the province to cover the legal costs.