Calgary Catholic schools ban 2SLGBTQ+ ‘safe space’ stickers, teacher says

The Calgary Catholic School District says it has developed its own resources to demonstrate acceptance in schools after an anonymous teacher accused the district of banning ‘safe space’ stickers. Tate Laycraft has more on the accusation.

The Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) is facing backlash for it’s decision to disallow the use of safe space stickers in classrooms, and one teacher says that sends an awful message to 2SLGBTQ+ students.

Just a week after CCSD teachers were sent the rainbow-coloured safe space stickers — which are meant to indicate an area is a safe, welcoming environment that students can feel free of judgement in — they were asked to take them down.

One teacher informed CityNews that they were told the change was decided by the district’s bishop. However, the board stated in a release to CityNews that it was considered an “operational matter.”

He said it sends a message that certain students aren’t allowed in the district, and it makes it hard for teachers to provide a safe space for their LGBTQS+ students, which many don’t have at home.

This is a sentiment echoed by Dr. Kristopher Wells with the Canada Research Chair for Public Understanding of Sexual and Gender minority youth at MacEwan University.

“This sends a message of silence and erasure of 2SLGBTQ+ young people who continue to be very vulnerable — experiencing increased rates of bullying, victimization, harassment and assault in their schools,” he said.

“This is clearly discriminatory,” Wells added. “It’s a matter of the school district getting in the way of teachers’ responsibilities as members of the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA).”

However, in an email to CityNews, CCSD communications specialist Joanna French, said every space in a Catholic school is a safe space, and they have their own resources to demonstrate this.

Wells explains that the division allowing the stickers is the bare minimum.

“That’s what this even more troubling, is Calgary Catholic won’t even do the bare minimum by allowing teachers to publicly and visibly indicate that their classrooms are safe spaces for 2SLGBTQ+ youth,” he said

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