Brian Jean says parents shouldn’t be notified if their child joins a gay-straight alliance

by Stuart Thomson

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean reiterated Wednesday he doesn’t think parents should be notified if their child joins a gay-straight alliance.

Jean’s comments in a Facebook update put him at odds with both Progressive Conservative Leader Jason Kenney and a Calgary Sun column stating Jean’s own position differently.

Columnist Rick Bell wrote that Jean believed parental notification would “be permissible where the local school or school board determined it was in the best interest of the student and the student was involved in the process.”

In the Facebook post, Jean takes the opposite position.

“My views are that for a child struggling with his or her identity or sexuality, I believe they should not be forced to talk about it before they are ready,” wrote Jean.

On Monday, Jean was even more unequivocal, saying he “absolutely” didn’t think parents should be notified if their child joins a GSA.

Last week, Kenney told the Calgary Herald editorial board that parents should be notified if their child joins a GSA, unless the parents are known to be abusive.

The confusion — especially as Jean’s Wildrose Party and Kenney’s PCs begin discussions to create a united conservative party in Canada — has drawn the ire of the governing NDP.

At a news conference Wednesday about school lunches, Premier Rachel Notley waded into the debate.

“The fact that the opposition parties are tying themselves in knots over this, is because they don’t actually yet believe the things the vast majority of Canadans do on this issue,” said Notley.

Notley said “it would be lovely” for schools to tell parents about all the clubs a student can join, but saw no reason for that to be mandatory.

On that front, Jean’s 600-word Facebook post came with a few caveats.

Jean said parents have a right to know if a GSA has been set up in the school because they “need to be assured that GSAs are not being used to get around the legal requirement to obtain parental consent when discussing issues of human sexuality.”

In the post, Jean also decried links to “graphic sexual content” on support websites for GSAs.

At times, Jean’s post echoes language used by the government about “safe and caring spaces for children” and also touches on a common concern of Kenney about avoiding the notion that “parents be seen as an adversary to their own child’s best interests.”

Posted by Brian Jean on Wednesday, April 5, 2017

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