Christian sex ed in public schools an infringement of human rights, say Edmonton mother, daughter

Jul 9, 2014
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EDMONTON – An Edmonton teenager and her mother have successfully filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission, alleging the Edmonton Public School District’s use of a Christian fundamentalist abstinence education program infringed upon their rights as non-Christians.

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Last July, Emily Dawson, then 17, was enrolled in a summer course of Career and Life Management at McNally High School. No Alberta high school student can graduate without taking CALM, a mandatory course.

Under Section 11 of Alberta’s Human Rights Act, parents have a right to be notified in advance if their children are going to be taught about sex, sexual orientation, or religion and to exempt their children from such classes.

The parental rights clause was introduced by the Stelmach government to placate social conservatives upset by the addition of sexual orientation to Alberta’s human rights code.

Dawson’s mother Kathy, an agnostic who supports sex education, signed the permission slip for Emily to attend CALM’s sexual education classes. She was shocked when Emily texted her to say the “sex ed” class was being taught by an anti-abortion activist, from the American-based Pregnancy Care Centre.

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