The Grande Prairie Youth Council is asking the city to have their back as they campaign against the controversial Bill 10.
The Tory legislation was drafted in opposition to the now scrapped Bill 202, and would give Alberta school boards the ability to deny requests from students to form Gay Straight Alliances.
Youth Services Supervisor Cara Jones says the council is a diverse group of students who strongly believe in the importance of GSAs.
“They themselves have seen the success of having GSAs in the schools and how it encourages inclusivity, diversity, and empathy. It brings suicide rates down and it brings bullying down, so they were very passionate about making this an issue that the city was aware of.”
The GP Youth Council includes young people aged 14-21, who represent schools and other young organizations around the city.
Jones says they want to act as a voice representing the interests of their age group.
“They all come from a generation where, without a doubt, to be inclusive in all areas is important. Having bills passed and laws that directly affect them passed without being consulted is something they themselves think is wrong, and something their friends and peers think is wrong.”
Bill 202 was a piece of Liberal Party legislation, that proposed requiring all school boards to develop policies on supporting students in the creation of gay straight alliances.
Bill 10 was the PC party’s response, which would give students the option to appeal to the Minister of Education if their school refused permission for an alliance.
The Youth Council made an impassioned appeal to the city’s Community Living Committee earlier this week, asking for the city to write a letter of support for them to the province, and the committee in turn had some suggestions for the students.
“This was really a stepping stone for them in clarifying their thought process on why they were there, and why they want to see this change.”
Jones says the next step for the Youth Council is to refine their presentation, and then approach local MLAs and school boards to ask for their support.
Image via cityofgp.com