By Jonathon Van Maren
According to the Edmonton Journal, Alberta’s education minister has just announced that he is taking the next step in the NDP government’s crackdown on the province’s religious schools—and that action against these schools will occur by the end of the school year:
Alberta private schools that fail to publicly post policies within a month affirming the rights of LGBTQ students will lose their public funding by the end of the 2018-19 school year, Education Minister David Eggen said Wednesday.
“If you’re receiving public money, then you must comply with the rules, just like everybody else,” Eggen said in an interview. As of April, all public, Catholic, francophone, charter and private schools in Alberta are bound by changes to the School Act that say principals must immediately approve a student’s request to start a gay-straight alliance support group for students…
Of course, all of these schools were in compliance with the rules before the NDP government decided to change the rules and demand that religious schools, which have always been a fundamental part of Canada’s educational fabric, implement policies that directly conflict with their core values. This is a government informing any school that does not publicly adhere to their ideology and their worldview that they are no longer welcome. This is what progressive “diversity” looks like: Enforced conformity. More:
The bill also says schools can’t tell families if a student joins a school club, and requires schools adopt a code of conduct outlining unacceptable behaviour and consequences. Several independent schools oppose the law and have launched a court challenge of Bill 24, saying it infringes on their charter rights. The group of schools and parents lost a related court case in June to stop the law from taking effect.
Calgary lawyer John Carpay, who represents the schools and parents, in a Wednesday email called the crackdown on policies a “bullying and intimidation tactic” better suited to a dictatorship without regard for the freedoms of citizens.
“The government’s attempt to compel private schools to express the government’s views in their own policies seriously undermines the rights of these schools to have policies that respect the unique character of these independent schools,” Carpay wrote.
Some of the schools fighting the law did post compliant policies, Eggen said. On Monday, deputy education minister Curtis Clarke wrote to 61 Alberta private schools, saying their policy either does not comply with the School Act, or isn’t posted prominently online. They will receive personalized letters next week outlining deficiencies and will have 30 days to fix them.
In an interview, Eggen said if law-abiding policies aren’t posted by early October, he will impose policies on reticent schools. If the schools fail to post the imposed policy, he’ll withdraw their public funding before the end of the school year.
Two Edmonton-area Christian schools that have defied the minister on the issue have a policy posted that says, “Parental notification and permission is required for students to attend and participate in any approved school clubs and activities.”
Again, as I wrote earlier today, parental rights are at the center of the current battles between progressive politicians and parents across the country. The NDP and their ideological fellow travelers believe that they have the right to demand that their worldview be taught to the children of other people, and are attempting to use whatever means necessary to ensure that this happens. Schools that maintain their unique religious character will be made an example of. This is not state neutrality. This is the government mandating a specific perspective that is at odds with nearly every major religious group in the country—but LGBT activists like Kris Wells have been cheering this on:
The public must wait to see if any schools defy the minister to know whether he’ll act as promised, said Kristopher Wells, an associate professor specializing in sexual and gender minority studies at the University of Alberta. Wells is moving to MacEwan University effective Saturday.
“Enough is enough for schools that won’t comply with basic policy expectations. There needs to be consequences,” he said.
Again, it is important to note that these “basic policy expectations” are brand new, brought in by Alberta’s NDP first-term government, which seems determined to accomplish as much social engineering as possible before they are in all likelihood given the boot next year by Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party. We will have to wait until then to discover how much of the damage the NDP inflicted on Alberta’s religious schools is lasting.