The Pride Report

Prairie South Schools Pass Diversity Policy in 8-to-1 Vote

Gender & Sexual Diversity is now explicitly protected in the Prairie South School Division, after the School Board passed a motion to adopt the “Respect for Human Diversity Policy,” earlier this month.

The policy, which can be viewed on the Prairie South website, supports professional development on diversity, encourages consultation with diverse community groups, defines the roles and responsibilities for Prairie South stakeholders and outlines how discrimination will be dealt with.

The diversity policy was developed over 12 months by Lori Meyer, Superintendent of Learning for Prairie South, in collaboration with many different community groups, the Board of Education’s “Equitable Opportunities Committee,” school community councils, as well as parents and students.

In a phone interview, Meyer said that the policy “makes a clear statement about what Prairie South believes about the value of every human being.”

Reflecting on the many different forms of diversity in the school division, Meyer indicated that this policy would be a significant foundation for the safety of LGBT+ staff and students:

“It was important to ensure that our students felt safe and that they had something—some rights—to back them up, as far as expressing their gender and sexual diversity.”

The discussion of the policy at the April 4 meeting lasted less than five minutes before it was passed in an 8-to-1 vote.

Trustee Brian Swanson asked a question about the “practical application” of accepting and respecting diversity on the basis of religion. Swanson also commented that he preferred a discrimination policy that simply listed the prohibited grounds of discrimination.

In response, Trustee Robert Bachmann, a member of the “Equitable Opportunities Committee” stated:

“[The policy] has been […] uniquely crafted taking into account the desires that different individuals and groups have while also meeting the legal standard that is out there, currently. I certainly support the work that our division has done on developing this and hope that it’s a policy that we’re ready to put into place.”

The Respect for Human Diversity Policy was adopted on Bachmann’s motion, with Swanson being the only trustee to vote against.

Watch the school board discussion online here (14:44 – 19:50).

According to Meyer, school administrators began reviewing the policy the very next day at a scheduled meeting where they discussed its implementation in the division’s schools, with a goal being to raise awareness of the policy’s existence.

Meyer added “I appreciate the work that our partners like Moose Jaw Pride [and many others] have done and also the foresight of the board to realize that this is something that is needed in our school division.”

For more information:

Phone: 306-694-1200
https://www.prairiesouth.ca

Also, don’t miss our Pride Week Charity Luncheon and Community Service Awards featuring our guest speakers from the Prairie South School Division’s Gay Straight Alliance!

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