Minister of Education David Eggen visited Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School students to host a gay-straight alliance roundtable on Feb. 6th. Robin Grant/Red Deer Express

Minister of Education David Eggen visited Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School students to host a gay-straight alliance roundtable on Feb. 6th. Robin Grant/Red Deer Express

Education Minister David Eggen hosts Red Deer students at gay-straight alliance roundtable

Red Deer students praise school’s gay-straight alliances

Education Minister David Eggen hosted Red Deer students at a gay-straight alliance (GSA) roundtable at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School Wednesday afternoon.

The minister was in the City visiting Lindsay Thurber in the afternoon to talk about how the GSA peer support networks, which are organized by students to help LGBTQ+ students feel welcome and prevent bullying, were working out in Red Deer schools. He also visited Aspen Heights Elementary School to tour the school’s MicroSociety program.

Eggen praised schools, including Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive and Hunting Hills High School, which have implemented the programs.

“(It) sets a good tone in Hunting Hills and Lindsay Thurber that we look after kids. We look after vulnerable kids and everybody is protected,” he said.

With the upcoming provincial election, Eggen said he is disturbed the United Conservative Party (UCP) voted against Bill 24, an Act to Support Gay-Straight Alliances.

The Bill, which was passed in 2017, makes it illegal for teachers to inform parents if their child had joined a GSA, unless the child consented.

UCP Leader Jason Kenney criticized the Bill, saying it gives the education minister unnecessary powers. It was also criticized for limiting a parent’s right to know.

“It doesn’t impinge on anyone’s rights,” Eggen continued. “It just creates a safe environment for young people, which is the ultimate right, isn’t it? To have a safe place to be, a safe place in which to learn and they achieved that here so well in Red Deer.”

Cameron Litowski, a Red Deer high school student, said vulnerable students need advocates in the government.

“With the upcoming election, it’s not OK just to be OK with the GSAs, we need an advocate in government that will support our rights as human beings,” Litowski said. “And that is one of the forefronts of going into a new election — what election party will ensure the safety of all citizens not just the selective groups of society.”

Katherine Jones, also a high school student who participates in the GSA groups at her school, said having Eggen listen to LGBTQ+ students is important.

“Having the support of adults — especially adults with significant power — is very uplifting for disadvantaged children to see. Especially us specifically. We’ve been doing (queer-straight alliances) since we were in Grade 7, we made one in our middle school, and back then anything like this wouldn’t have been conceivable. But now, there’s just been such progress, especially someone within the government (showing) that they do care.”

She said benefits of the GSA peer support groups outweigh what some see as negatives.

“I think that the right to safety within a child and them feeling safe as a person and secure in who they are and having a support system is just so important to growing up well as a child,” she said.

“I know there is fear around it with older people, but it’s better than the alternative, which is an isolated child who feels alone and afraid and then potentially killing themselves because they didn’t have any support. I think a gay child is better than a child who is dead.”

Just Posted

(File photo from The Canadian Press)
Red Deer down to 66 active COVID-19 cases

Red Deer has lowest number of active cases since last November

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

A pair of Alberta residents were arrested after police responded to a report of a woman who had allegedly been assaulted and confined against her will on June 20, 2021. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP arrest 2 Albertans suspected in alleged assault, unlawful confinement

Firearms, stolen items seized including NHL hockey cards believed to be worth thousands

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians encouraged to see mRNA shots as interchangeable as more 2nd doses open up

Doctors urge people not to hesitate if offered Moderna after getting Pfizer for their first shot

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference in Ottawa on June 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Defence committee rises without report on Vance allegations

Committee had been investigating the government’s handling of complaints against former defence chief

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Most Read