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Sask. education ministry says schools must get parental permission for pronoun changes under 16

Education Minister Dustin Duncan says the changes are meant to standardize policies across school divisions and came in response to complaints from parents.

Province also banning outside groups from giving sex-ed presentations in schools

A white man with thinning grey hair is wearing a suit and tie. He has a neutral look on his face.

Saskatchewan is bringing in new policies around sex education and pronoun use in the province's schools.

The province announced Tuesday that going forward, parents must be informed about the sexual health education curriculum offered in their children's schools and have the option to decline their children's participation.

Schools must also now seek the permission of parents or guardians before allowing students under the age of 16 to change what the province refers to as their "preferred" name and pronouns.

For students 16 and over, parent/guardian consent is not required.

Education Minister Dustin Duncan said the changes were driven by parents.

"Our government has heard the concerns raised by Saskatchewan parents about needing to be notified and included in their children's education in these important areas," Duncan said in a news release announcing the changes.

The province also announced that all boards of education must immediately pause any involvement with any third-party organization connected to sexual health education while the Ministry of Education undertakes a review of "educational resources to ensure alignment with curriculum outcomes."

Only teachers can present sexual education materials in the classroom, Duncan said.

The policy shift comes after an incident at Lumsden High School in June, where a Grade 9 student picked up graphic sex ed material left behind by Planned Parenthood after members of the organization presented to their health class.

Planned Parenthood Regina has said the material was not directly related to the presentation, but Duncan called for all schools in the province to suspend presentations by the organization.

Policy changes were teased earlier this month by Premier Scott Moe in a post-byelection press conference.

He said the Lumsden-Morse byelection, which saw the Sask Party retain the seat but lose ground to the Saskatchewan United Party, sent a message that his government would be listening to loud and clear.

"A majority of voters in Lumsden-Morse still believe that it is the Saskatchewan Party that is the best option to address these concerns and we intend to do just that," Moe said on Aug. 11.

On Tuesday, Duncan said the slate of changes would ensure policies are standardized across various school divisions in the province.

"Schools will continue to ensure safe learning environments where all students feel included, protected and respected," Duncan said.


Alexander Quon


Alexander Quon is a reporter with CBC Saskatchewan based in Regina. After working in Atlantic Canada for four years he's happy to be back in his home province. He has previously worked with the CBC News investigative unit in Nova Scotia and Global News in Halifax. Alexander specializes in data-reporting, COVID-19 and municipal political coverage. He can be reached at: Alexander.Quon@cbc.ca.

Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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