We are disappointed, if not surprised, by the so-called “consent policies” announced today in a statement by Saskatchewan Education Minister Dustin Duncan. In short, these policies enact the following in Saskatchewan schools:
- Removing the right of youth under the age of 16 to use their chosen name and/or pronouns at school if they do not have consent from a parent.
- Preventing third-party organizations from being involved with school districts or supporting students and educators on topics related to “Sexual Health Education”.
Ivy + Dean Consulting was founded to help local nonprofits develop the tools they need to be successful, social justice-focused, and supportive of the community. It’s no secret that nonprofits are often called on to fill the gaps left by inadequate government support for essential public supports like social services, healthcare, and education. We see and have long supported the work of nonprofits across the province who have been instrumental in ensuring Saskatchewan students and educators have access to comprehensive and relevant education that addresses the full spectrum of human experience, including the experiences of queer and trans people.
Moreover, our team at Ivy + Dean Consulting have become a sought-after resource for local educators in the public and separate school systems. CEO and Principal Consultant Jacq Brasseur, who holds a Master of Education in Curriculum Development, is a vocal champion for evidenced-based, 2SLGBTQ-inclusive education and regularly offers training and development on 2SLGBTQ-inclusive curriculum and schooling to Saskatchewan school districts.
We know policies such as those announced today and those inevitably to come aim to erase queer and trans realities from schools, which can only result in the perpetuation of insidious myths and ongoing exclusion. It’s clear to many that Minister Duncan’s statement regarding « Sexual Health Education » and « Parental Inclusion » is based in anti-2SLGBTQ+ sentiment, homophobia, transphobia, and violence. This policy decision is not about parental inclusion or parental choice. This is about silencing and limiting 2SLGBTQ+ people in Saskatchewan schools. The Ministry’s decision to « immediately pause involvement with any third-party organization » is overwhelmingly about limiting pro-2SLGBTQ+ organizations’ support for educators. This includes the support offered by Ivy + Dean Consulting.
That’s why, until the Ministry of Education reverses course on this decision, Ivy + Dean Consulting will no longer be able to provide collaboration, training, and/or presentations to Saskatchewan educators, schools, or school districts related to topics of gender, sexuality, or 2SLGBTQ inclusion.
Finally, while others have spoken out in support of Saskatchewan 2SLGBTQ+ students, we would be remiss not to articulate our support for Saskatchewan 2SLGBTQ+ youth and families affected by the action taken by the Ministry of Education. These policies will absolutely have disastrous effects on the safety and wellbeing of queer and trans students, undoubtedly resulting in the forced outing of trans youth, which is a violent action that places youth at risk. Instead of ensuring our schools are a sanctuary where youth can focus on learning and growth, students have become fodder for political clout. Put simply, we stand with 2SLGBTQ+ students, educators, community organizations, and people. We see you. We celebrate you. We know that our province is stronger with you in it, and we are committed to doing what we can to build a Saskatchewan where you feel safe.
We call on the Minister of Education to reverse these harmful policies and urge the entire nonprofit sector to stand up against the action taken today by the Saskatchewan government, which will overwhelmingly impact 2SLGBTQ+ communities. Furthermore, we challenge people across Saskatchewan to write to their MLA and the Minister of Education about how disastrous these policies will be for Saskatchewan education.