Will BC stand up for LGBTQ rights in religious schools?

Update (Sep 8, 2016): The Minister of Education has announced that all public and independent BC schools will now have to include specific protections for LGBTQ students in anti-bullying policies.

The BC Humanist Association wrote to BC's Minister of Education today to ask whether BC's government is willing to show a commitment to LGBTQ equality in BC schools.

In Alberta, the government is putting more and more pressure on public and private school boards to adopt policies to uphold the rights of LGBTQ students in the classroom.

A pastor who chairs two Baptist private schools in Alberta is refusing to follow a ministerial order that requires all schools to have a policy explicitly protecting LGBTQ students and staff. Instead the schools claim to have a "zero-tolerance anti-bullying policy" based on Christian principles.

The schools, like many private schools in Alberta and BC, receive significant funding from the provincial government.

In 2012 the Government of BC introduced the ERASE strategy to combat bullying in schools; however, the strategy makes no explicit mention of how to support queer students.

In 2014, following a human rights complaint by a transgender student, The Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese board introduced a policy "regarding Gender Expression and Gender Dysphoria." Lauren Strapagiel, writing for Canada.com, said the policy "made clear that the identity of transgender students is not to be respected."

Those schools receive an equivalent of half the amount of per-student funding that Vancouver public schools receive.

Read the letter to the Education Minister.

Banner credit: Darren Stone, Times Columnist

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