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U of A prof would like to see Catholic School Boards in Alberta take a public stance on GSAs

An assistant professor at the University of Alberta is concerned about the persisting silence from Catholic School Boards on supportive groups for LGBTQ students.

Dr. Kris Wells of the Institute for Sexual Minority Students says with new poll results showing more than 80 per cent of Catholics in Alberta are in support of Gay Straight Alliances, Catholic School boards need to break their silence.

“So have they actually gone out and consulted with their constituents around their beliefs on Gay-Straight Alliances within Catholic schools? Because the results of that Leger research poll clearly show that the majority of Catholics within Alberta have no problem with Gay-Straight Alliances within public or catholic schools.”

In a release, Wells goes on to say that Gay-Straight Alliances, which are voluntary student initiated groups, have been proven to provide a safe environment and help save lives in ways that no other alternatives have been able to deliver.

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“You don’t have to necessarily wait,” Wells says “until a problem arises, or tragically a young person takes their own life because they don’t feel that they are supported in their school or community. What we need is a call to dialogue to make sure that these elected trustees are actively representing the views of their community.

However, Grande Prairie Catholic School Board Chair Eldon Wyant says there has been no silence to break, as it has always been their goal to create school environments that are inclusive, safe, and caring for all students.

“We would help any student so that they feel they are an important part of our inclusive and caring school environment. This might include a formation of transitional supports or clubs that might be called GSAs. It’s our responsibility to take care of every kid. Our Pope tells us to love and not to judge.”

Wyant says whether it be based on race, gender, or sexuality, it has always been the board’s policy to support diversity in their schools.

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