Pediatricians in Alberta, Canada, say children should be allowed to join a school’s gay-straight alliance without being outed to their parents.
A group of doctors have thrown their weight behind a growing number of people in the state who believe young people should join the organization without having to be outed their parents.
It comes alongside growing pressure in Alberta to reverse a piece of legislation that prevents teachers from outing students.
However, pediatric resident Jazmyn Balfour-Boehm penned an open letter in support of LGBTI students.
They said: ‘I’m recognizing that, as I am proceeding with my pediatric residency, we have this voice to use.
‘We wanted to be the voice for the youth when they can’t advocate for themselves. I hadn’t seen the medical viewpoint in the media on this and I felt it provided a new perspective to the conservation’
She added: ‘In our profession, the only ground for breaching the circle of confidentiality that exists within the patient-physician relationship would be if child or adolescent indicates intent to harm themselves or others, or if there is a suspected case of abuse or neglect.’
Why are they speaking up
The argument comes over Bill 24, which requires school principals to immediately allow the formation of gay-straight alliances in schools. It also requires private schools to have public policies to protect LGBTI students.
This would prevent school staff from outing LGBTI students involved in the organization to their parents or guardians.
However, critics say the Bill allows staff to keep secrets from families.
Students wearing Confederate flags distributed racist and homophobic flyers on Wednesday in an effort to bully students in McCormick Junior High School’s Gay Straight Alliance students. The school is in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
The flyers have a “NO” symbol covering a Pride flag and say “It’s great to be straight. It’s not ok to be gay.”
They also read, “Black lives only matter because if it weren’t for them who would pick our cotton” and “Join the kkk (the confederate kid club)”.
The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports: “Principal Jeff Conine told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle there were only two flyers, and that they were taped to a wall in an area without security cameras. He said teachers found the flyers and took them down before the school day began. But at least three other, independent reports claim the walls of the school were papered with the flyers, and that students with Confederate flags were passing out the flyers to targeted students in the GSA club at the school.”
The school’s principal told the paper he thought it was an “isolated” incident but the GSA’s co-sponsor, Kaycee Cook, a substitute teacher, told the paper that “Wednesday’s events were only the latest in a series of events. Cook said students have been flashing confederate flags and yelling homophobic slurs at GSA students.” She also said that some teachers have refused to address LGBTQ students by their chosen pronouns and called gay students “disgusting.”
Cook was then FIRED after reporting the hate speech to Wyoming Equality: “Kaycee Cook tells the Wyoming Tribune Eagle that McCormick Junior High Principal Jeff Conine sent her an email Wednesday saying she was no longer welcome as a guest or a substitute teacher at the school. Cook says she thinks Conine took action after she called members of a local LGBTQ advocacy group to tell them about the flyers.”
Wyoming Equality released a statement:
Our offices at Wyoming Equality and ACLU were saddened today, but not surprised, to hear of an incident at McCormick Junior High where LGBT and black students were made to feel unsafe and unwelcome. While we were happy to find agreement with the McCormick Junior High School principal, Jeff Conine, who agreed that LGBT and black students should have the same access to education that any student enjoys, we were disheartened that the principal’s response did not include greater support for the LGBT and black students harmed. There can be no equivocating: there is no place in Cheyenne for this hate. Our values of fairness and “live and let live” ethics are being tested and our response as a community must be with one voice: not in our town.
We invite all concerned citizens who want to be part of a constructive community response to hate groups trying to use children to spread divisive and hateful messages in our schools to join us Friday, March 29th at 5:30 pm, location TBD.
Mayor Orr; representatives from the 2nd Baptist Church; NAACP and a broad coalition of community, faith and business leaders will be joining us. WE Director Sara Burlingame stated, “I don’t think these hate groups understand how fiercely we protect our children here in Cheyenne. These students they are using as their pawns deserve much better role models. Some adult out there taught these students to carry confederate flags and scream, as they did today at McCormick Jr High, “God doesn’t want people to be fags!” Our LGBT and black students deserve kindness and support, but these students targeting them also deserve much better than the garbage they’re being fed by some hateful adults.”
Please address all questions to: Sara Burlingame Executive Director Wyoming Equality (307) 214 2556 firstname.lastname@example.org