Less than 24 hours before children returned to classes, dozens of protesters gathered yesterday to publicly denounce an education law they claim is uneducated.

Though Bill 44 won’t be instituted in Alberta schools until the 2010 school year, the legislature grounds were peppered with signs of protest and soundtracked by loudspeaker chants of opposition.

“It limits knowledge, constrains learning and hinders progress,” NDP MLA Rachel Notley said.

The contentious bill gives parents the right to pull their children out of classes when lessons containing sexuality, sexual orientation or religion are taught.

Details of the bill and a uniform approach haven’t yet been defined, which prompted Education Minister Dave Hancock last week to push its delay for a full school year. Regardless, those opposed said yesterday a delay won’t stop the inevitable.

“At least there will be a delay in legislating a culture of fear and ignorance into the classroom, but what about next year?” asked social worker and city council candidate Brendan Van Alstine.

Transgendered substitute teacher and parent Jan Buterman said he’s not only worried about rolling the new rules into the curriculum, but if his very job is at stake.

“Students do, of course, question because I was missus one year and now I’m not,” he said. “If you were a really picky parent and wanted to push something, you could do that. I guarantee my job is in jeopardy.”