Kiké Dueck, a 10-year-old nonbinary student, enjoys participating in gym class, particularly long-distance running. Dueck feels comfortable expressing their gender identity at school, as their peers are accepting and supportive. However, not all students are fortunate enough to experience the same level of acceptance, as some fear disclosing their LGBTQ2S+ identities to their parents.
Dueck’s parent, Dennie Fornwald, an early-childhood educator in Regina, shares these concerns. Fornwald worries about the new regulations in Saskatchewan that require parental consent for children under 16 years old to change their names or pronouns. Fornwald believes that this may force some students back into the closet, preventing them from fully expressing their true selves.
Additionally, Fornwald is apprehensive about the potential negative impact of these changes on her own children, including another child who identifies as gender diverse. She expresses compassion for the students who lack a safe and accepting home environment, fearing that these new rules will only exacerbate their distress.
The recently announced policy changes by Saskatchewan Education Minister Dustin Duncan reflect concerns raised by certain parents and teachers. These changes aim to establish uniform policies across all school divisions. In addition to the alteration regarding gender identity consent, parents now have the option to withdraw their children from sexual education courses. Third parties are also no longer permitted to teach these classes.
Although Duncan asserts that these updates deserve the same level of seriousness as obtaining consent for a field trip, Fornwald disagrees. She argues that gender identity is an essential and protected right, making it distinct from other matters.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is currently considering legal action against the province, expressing concerns about the potential harm these changes might pose to LGBTQ children who face non-acceptance at home. The organization believes that these regulations could place vulnerable students at risk.
Duncan has emphasized that teachers must address students by their birth name if parental consent has not been granted. However, human rights groups contend that this requirement is also harmful.
As an educator, Fornwald is committed to creating a safe environment for all students. She emphasizes the importance of presuming that families seek the best for their children. Fornwald acknowledges that challenging conversations about gender diversity may arise but maintains that the curriculum supports her in supporting all students.
Despite the policy changes, Duncan has assured that teachers will not face penalties for non-compliance.
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association has expressed concerns about the impact of these changes on the relationship between teachers and parents. The association has requested that the province pause the policy until the child advocate’s independent review is concluded.
Fornwald believes it is crucial to work together as adults to ensure the well-being of children. Ultimately, she hopes that all children, including Dueck, can enjoy their childhood without unnecessary burdens.
(Source: The Canadian Press, canadianpress.ca)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. What are the new regulations in Saskatchewan concerning gender identity consent?
Saskatchewan’s new regulations require parental consent for children under 16 years old to change their names or pronouns.
2. Why are these changes concerning?
Some individuals are concerned that these changes may force children back into the closet, preventing them from fully expressing their true gender identities.
3. Who raised concerns about these policy changes?
Concerns were raised by some parents and teachers, prompting Saskatchewan Education Minister Dustin Duncan to implement the new regulations.
4. Can parents withdraw their children from sexual education courses?
Yes, parents now have the option to withdraw their children from all or some sexual education courses.
5. Can third parties continue teaching sexual education courses?
Under the new rules, third parties are no longer allowed to teach sexual education courses.
6. How will teachers address students with regards to their gender identity?
Teachers must address students by their birth name if parental consent to use preferred names or pronouns has not been granted.
7. What legal action is being considered regarding these changes?
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is considering taking legal action against the province, expressing concerns about potential harm to LGBTQ children who face non-acceptance at home.
8. Will teachers face penalties for not following the new policy?
No, teachers will not be penalized for non-compliance with the policy changes.
9. What does the Saskatchewan School Boards Association recommend?
The association has requested that the province suspend the policy until the child advocate’s independent review is completed.
10. Will parents still be allowed involvement in the classroom?
Yes, parents will continue to be welcomed in the classroom and have access to the curriculum, as long as the privacy and rights of the students are respected.