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Bracing for Bill 44 backlash

Passage of a heavily debated human rights law that aims to keep sex,religion and sexual orienta­tion from falling on young ears seems tohave left Alberta’s teachers with more questions than answers.

Passage of a heavily debated human rights law that aims to keep sex, religion and sexual orienta­tion from falling on young ears seems to have left Alberta’s teachers with more questions than answers.

Deliberations on Bill 44 raged on into the early morning hours yesterday, ending in a unanimous Conservative vote supporting it.

Alberta School Board Association president Heather Welwood said teachers across the province are bracing for backlash against the bill.

“It won’t be business as usual. It’s going to take dollars to put those things in place,” she said.

Culture Minister Lindsay Blackett said he will be in close contact with teachers’ school boards to “quell any misconceptions that may have been created” during the debates.

Amendments to the bill exempt off-cuff controversial conversations between students and teachers, though Welwood predicts impromptu chats could become subject for human rights complaints.

Though in-class discussions of same-sex relationships and religion are now optional by law, Welwood wants parents to work with their child’s school and front-line faculty, before filing a human rights complaint if they feel ill-informed.

“We want parents to know their first stop is still the school,” she said.

Calgary Alberta College of Arts and Design student Jeff Rodier, 22, said he feels the bill is targeting the wrong subject matters.

“What about the sensitive subjects about violence? A lot of films shown in school about wars were more graphic than (Hollywood) movies,” he pointed out.

“This affects the student’s right to choose their education and destroys classroom discussions,” he added.
The number of concerned Alberta students, parents and teachers on a “Students Against Bill 44” Facebook group nearly doubled to 2,600 after the Alberta legislature finalized Bill 44 early yesterday morning.

 
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