The Division recognizes that studying controversial issues is an integral part of student learning and is important in preparing students to participate responsibly in a democratic and pluralistic society. The study of controversial issues provides students with opportunities to develop the ability to think clearly, to reason logically, to open-mindedly and respectfully examine different points of view, and to make sound judgments. The Division respects the rights of parents and students to request to be exempt from such instruction without judgment.
School Notification to Parents
Section 58.1 of the Education Act now outlines a parent's ability to have their child excluded, without academic penalty, from instruction, exercises, and the use of instructional materials that deal primarily and explicitly with religion or human sexuality.
This legislation requires that school boards notify parents when students will be receiving instruction that includes subject matter that deals primarily and explicitly with religion or human sexuality, allowing the opportunity for a parent to have their child opt-out. In such cases when a child is exempted from programming under Section 58.1, the child may either:
a) leave the classroom or place where the instruction is taking place or where the instructional material being used for the duration of that part of the instruction; or
b) remain in the classroom or place where the instruction is taking place without taking part in the instruction or use of instructional material.
EIPS expects this legislation should not affect the high-quality of classroom instruction and discussion that are the hallmarks of our education system, nor should it compromise our curriculum or teaching practices.
Student Exemption Form
As per Section 58.1 of the Education Act, parents can complete and submit the Student Exemption Form to exempt their child(ren) from a course or program of studies that includes subject matter dealing primarily and explicitly with religion or human sexuality.
Notification to parents/guardians is not required for incidental or indirect references to religion, religious themes, or human sexuality in an outcome, course, exercise, or instructional material.