More needs to be done to fight discrimination at schools, says Pride P.E.I.

·1 min read
Pride P.E.I. secretary and director of advocacy Andrea MacPherson says new gender  diversity guidelines need to become actual policy. (Jane Robertson/CBC - image credit)
Pride P.E.I. secretary and director of advocacy Andrea MacPherson says new gender diversity guidelines need to become actual policy. (Jane Robertson/CBC - image credit)

Pride P.E.I. says it wants more support for students facing discrimination in the province's schools.

The organization addressed provincial lawmakers Friday on the topic of new gender diversity guidelines which are set to be introduced on the Island's schools.

Pride P.E.I. secretary and director of advocacy Andrea MacPherson said she supports the guidelines but they need to become an actual policy to ensure all students in the province are equally protected.

"Students spend a huge majority of their lives in schools, nearly as much as at home," she said.

"Their schools need to be a safe place where they can develop and learn, and having an unsupportive administration and having no policies around their support really makes that a lot more difficult."

Not just 'willfully unsupportive'

The legislature's standing committee on education is currently delving into the issue of harassment and discrimination in Island schools.

MacPherson said LGBTQ+ students and parents may find their school isn't being supportive enough even if their administration isn't hostile to the idea of being more accommodating.

"It's not just that some administrations are willfully unsupportive. Sometimes it's they don't know what they can do and they don't know where they can turn to to get resources," she said.

"They may want to be supportive, but if they don't know what they can do, it just kind of stalls until the families say, "Well, can you do this?'"

She said teacher training needs to be standardized across the province so students can feel supported no matter where they are.

Pride P.E.I. is also pushing for more data-gathering to determine whether the guidelines are successful.

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