Prince Albert Catholic Division awaiting clarification from province on new sex ed and pronoun policies

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald The Prince Albert Catholic School Division board of education met for the first time in the 2023-2024 school year on Monday at the Education Centre.

Prince Albert Catholic School Division Director of Education Lorel Trumier said they’re awaiting clarification from the province on the new third party sexual education and parental consent policies for Saskatchewan schools.

Former Education Minister Dustin Duncan announced the new policies just before the start of the school year. Trumier said they’ve put a pause on some activities while they wait for further information.

“We’re putting a pause on any third party presentations in schools regarding sexual health outcomes,” Trumier said. “What we’re doing is seeking clarification from the ministry right now on which outcomes … they would be expecting us to put a pause on. that’s the stage we’re at on that particular matter.

“There’s also the matter of parental consent on change of names and that policy. We’re just, again, at the stage of getting clarification from the Ministry of Education in terms of how this would proceed as they have provided a directive on this matter.”

Trumier said the PA Catholic School Division is likely not alone in asking for more information.

“I would expect that all school divisions across this province are in that stage of that process as well, and that’s where we are on that particular matter as well,” she said. “Obviously we’re going to support all children and we’re just going to ensure that that children are safe in the process.”

Trumier said that with parents requiring consent, they would seek more clarification on what that means.

“We will be managing those on a case-by-case basis,” she added.

As of Aug. 22, schools must seek parent/guardian permission when changing the preferred name and pronouns used by students under the age of 16 in the school.

Parents/guardians must be informed about the sexual health education curriculum and have the option to decline their children’s participation and boards of education 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 review of educational resources to ensure alignment with curriculum outcomes.

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.

Parent/guardian consent for students under 16 will now be required to change a student’s name or pronouns in the school. For students 16 and over, parent/guardian consent is not required.