Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Alberta Education Minister 'Disturbed' by Dysfunction at Edmonton Catholic Board

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Alberta Education Minister 'Disturbed' by Dysfunction at Edmonton Catholic Board

Article excerpt

Alberta reacts to Catholic school dysfunction

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EDMONTON - Alberta's education minister says he is disturbed by the latest example of dysfunction at Edmonton's Catholic school board.

David Eggen also acknowledges that dissolving the board is an option, and says it is an idea that has been on his mind.

"I'm very concerned because of course they are responsible for many tens of thousands of children and running one of the biggest boards in the province," Eggen told reporters Tuesday.

"We need to know the procedures for making decisions are clear."

Eggen's comments come after board members met without the knowledge of their chairwoman last week to send out to all parents a letter from Calgary's bishop.

The letter from Bishop Fred Henry condemns a provincial policy being pursued by the board on helping LGBTQ students.

Eggen was asked if he is now considering dissolving the board.

"Moving down that road is certainly one of the options I have available to me, and I have been reflecting on that in the last few days," he replied.

He said next steps will take place over the next two days after he meets again with facilitator Donald Cummings.

Cummings was hired by Eggen last fall to help the Edmonton Catholic board members work together after public meetings over the issue of a transgender girl disintegrated into shouts, anger, insults, and tears.

The Edmonton Catholic board is one of 61 boards across Alberta charged by the province with drafting a policy to make schools safe and welcoming to LGBTQ students, as mandated under Alberta's School Act.

The boards must submit draft policies to the province for review by March 31.

To assist the boards, Eggen's department has sent out guidelines for the policies.

The guidelines, among other recommendations, specify that transgender students be allowed to use the washroom of their choice depending on their sex or on whether they perceive themselves to be a girl or a boy. …

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