A Canadian politician who said teachers should tell parents if their kids join gay-straight alliances has been criticised as “extremist”.
Jason Kenney, the newly elected leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservatives, on Tuesday suggested that students who join gay-straight alliances should be outed to their parents.
He said: “I do… think that parents have a right to know what’s going on with their kids in the schools unless the parents are abusive.
“I don’t think it’s right to keep secrets from parents about challenges their kids are going through.”
“I trust teachers, principals and school counsellors to exercise their judgment about such matters, and that there should be a presumption that most parents are loving and caring, seeking only what is best for their children,” added Kenney in a Facebook post.
“The law should neither force schools to release information to parents, nor should it create an adversarial relationship between parents and their children.”
Many have come out against the suggestion, saying that LGBT+ students or allies could be outed to their parents before they have a chance to come out themselves.
David Eggen, the Alberta Education Minister branded the comments as “extremist”.
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He said: “If the government is compelling people to out those students in a very compromised situation, then they are only serving to make the situation even worse.”
Adding: “Jason Kenney has shown, once you scratch the paint off a little bit, you find the extremist that he actually is.”
Eggen suggested that the law should be strengthened to prevent schools from speaking to parents about things like gay-straight alliances.
This came after Kenney said if he became the Alberta premier, he would not repeal the law which means schools cannot ban gay-straight alliances.
Kenney was also criticised by two out of Alberta’s four opposition parties.
“We feel that this stance by Mr. Kenney demonstrates his social conservative credentials and why he is not fit to lead Alberta,” Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark said in a statement.
Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann said: “It remains to be seen how far Mr. Kenney is willing to push this.
“The appearance is that he wants to interfere in what was a fairly clear statement of principle and practice for these GSAs.
“And we’re quite clear, I think — most of us in the progressive community [feel] that this is appropriate, the way it is written, and it must be followed the way it is written to protect and ensure safe and inclusive schools.”