Ontario’s education minister, Stephen Lecce, has emphasized the importance of parental involvement when a child chooses to use a different pronoun at school. Addressing changes in Ontario schools starting in September, Lecce stressed the need for parents to be fully informed and engaged in their child’s life. Although he acknowledged the significance of creating safe environments for all students, Lecce underscored that parents should have a say in potentially life-changing decisions, as they provide vital support for their children.
While Lecce did not comment on whether legislation would be introduced, he affirmed that this was the official stance of the province. This follows the recent adoption of similar policies in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, wherein parental consent is required for students under 16 who wish to change their names and pronouns at school.
The issue of parental involvement in students’ identity choices has provoked public debate, with varying perspectives emerging. According to a recent Angus Reid poll, 43 percent of Canadians believe parents should be informed and give consent for such changes, whereas 34 percent argue that parents should simply be informed. Additionally, 16 percent of respondents believe that the decision should rest solely with the child.
The Toronto District School Board already has a policy in place to protect the privacy of transgender and gender non-conforming students. This policy recognizes that some children may not feel comfortable disclosing their identity at home and asserts that a student’s gender non-conformity or transgender status should never be disclosed to parents without explicit prior consent from the student. Communication between school staff and guardians should be guided by the student’s own preferences.
Meanwhile, in Saskatchewan, school boards have requested a pause on the implementation of the gender and pronoun policy, citing concerns about safety risks and potential violations of charter rights. Despite this, the provincial government has not reversed its position.
Overall, the topic of parental involvement in children’s identity choices remains a complex and deeply nuanced issue, requiring ongoing dialogue and consideration for the well-being of all students involved.
What is the role of parents in a child’s decision to use a different pronoun at school?
Parents play a crucial role in supporting their children through potentially life-changing decisions. They should be fully informed and engaged in their child’s life to provide the necessary support.
What are the percentages of public opinion on parental consent for identity changes in schools?
According to a recent Angus Reid poll, 43 percent of Canadians believe parents should be informed and give consent, while 34 percent believe parents should only be informed. Sixteen percent of respondents think the decision should be solely up to the child.
What is the Toronto District School Board’s policy on transgender and gender non-conforming students?
The Toronto District School Board has a policy that protects the privacy of transgender and gender non-conforming students. It ensures that a student’s gender identity is not disclosed to parents without explicit consent, considering the student’s preferences and safety.
Why have school boards in Saskatchewan requested a pause on the gender and pronoun policy?
Saskatchewan school boards argue that the gender and pronoun policy could pose safety risks and potentially violate charter rights. They have requested a complete review and report before implementation. However, the government has not yet reversed its position.