Prince Albert Pride will advocate against the provincial pronoun policy

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Prince Albert Pride President Chelsea Bleu held a flag on 15th Street during the demonstration at MLA Alana Ross' Office on Tuesday evening.

Prince Albert Pride will continue to advocate against recent education policy changes in the province.

Pride President Chelsea Bleau said they’re frustrated with the announcement last week by former Education Minister Dustin Duncan that parent and guardian consent for students under 16 will now be required to change a student’s name or pronouns in the school they were emboldened.

“I was feeling was mostly fear and anger,” said Bleau, who grew up in Esterhazy and uses they/them pronouns. “It also brought up a lot of past trauma from being in school.

“There was a lot of bullying that went on. A lot of my friends moved away specifically because they were being bullied so hard, and I feel that policies like this create a hostile environment that almost encourages treatment like this to students.”

Bleau said it’s unclear how much things have improved since then, and this new policy won’t do much to help.

“When I was being bullied in school, teachers didn’t do much at all. Now it’s like now it makes it harder for teachers to do something.”

Duncan made the announcement the week before students went back to school across Saskatchewan. Bleau said that sends a message to teachers, health professionals, and Queer based organizations that their expertise are not welcome. Prince Albert Pride, however, will continue to speak out.

Bleau has encouraged Prince Albert residents to send emails, letters, and phone calls to MLA offices, the Premier, and the province’s new Education Minister, Jeremy Cockrill.

UR Pride and Egale Canada have set in motion a court case unless the policies were removed by 5 p.m. on Wednesday

Another change affecting Prince Albert Pride means Parents and guardians must also be informed about the sexual health education curriculum and have the option to decline their children’s participation.

All education boards must immediately pause involvement with any third-party organization, such as ARC Foundation and the SOGI 1 2 3 Program, connected to sexual health education as the ministry undertakes a review of educational resources to ensure alignment with curriculum outcomes.

“We haven’t done much of that,” Bleau said. “Sex education is especially so important for the queer community because there’s so much misinformation out there, and it’s important to prevent STIs (sexually transmitted infections). We give out condoms for free. That’s one of our resources that we do.”

Only teachers, not outside third parties, will be able to present sexual education materials in the classroom. This directive does not include professionals employed by government ministries or the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

“Our province has record-breaking STI cases and it just it feels personal,” Bleau said. “I’m sick and tired of everyone’s health and safety being put at risk.”