New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs wants his province to review policy around LGBTQ issues in schools and believes parents have a right to be told if their children change genders.
Higgs cited complaints from concerned parents as being behind the need for a review. Additionally, the premier has stated that he doesn’t believe kids should be exposed to drag queen story times “at that age.”
“Are we asking should kids in elementary school and kindergarten be exposed to drag queen reading time is that what you’re asking because no I don’t think they should be at that age,” said Higgs.
“We’re teaching kids to develop and grow, and they need to be making decisions as they get older and they get wiser. Are we trying to teach tolerance and acceptance, or are we trying to teach promotion?”
According to Higgs, parents with children under the age of 16 should be informed if their kids adopt a different name or use pronouns other than their biological sex while at school.
Most schools throughout Canada have policies which require school staff or administrators to not inform parents of an ongoing gender transition unless requested to do so by the student.
“For it purposefully to be hidden from the parents, that’s a problem,” said Higgs.
“To suggest that it’s OK that parents don’t need to know — just stop and think about that question for a moment.”
According to Education Minister Bill Hogan, his office has received complaints in the “hundreds, at least” from parents worried about the school board policies.
Hogan also expressed concerns about “the age appropriateness of what is taught in the classroom when it comes to sexual education.”
According to the Education Minister, New Brunswick isn’t the only place “engaged in this conversation.”
“We want to have a conversation with New Brunswickers so we can hear their views, address misconceptions and concerns, and provide the very best educational environment for all our students,” said Hogan.
A recent poll found that a majority of Canadians believed that schools had an obligation to know if their children changed genders. According to the Leger survey, 57% of respondents said that they agree schools have a duty to inform parents, while only 18% said schools should not be required to do so.