Calgary high school students have taken to the streets today, in hopes of backtracking the newly elected, United Conservative Parties' controversial decision to repeal legislation. Newly elected premier, Jason Kenney is trying to prevent schools from keeping members of student Gay-Straight Alliances anonymous. As a result, hundreds of Calgary students protested Jason Kenney's stance on Gay-Straight Alliance in schools and organized a massive LGBTQ rights protest while walking out of schools today.
Alberta School Walkout is a group started on Instagram by students for students in response to UCP leader, Jason Kenney's pledge to roll back Bill 24, replacing it with the Progressive Conservative Governments Education Act of 2012, or Bill 10.
With over 3000 followers on social media, the group's page exclaims that they aim to "exercise their right to peaceful protest," and has inspired hundreds of members and allies of the LGBTQ community to fight against the repeal of Bill 24.
Replacing the bill will ensure that any children who partake in the Gay-Straight Alliance, a safe space for LGBTQ kids to express themselves in schools, would have to notify their parents of their involvements in the group.
High schoolers are particularly upset about this potential change considering children who are support groups members might not be quite ready to come out to their families or friends, a move they believe to be counterproductive and dangerous.
In Canada, over 33% of LGBTQ youth have attempted suicide, a number exponentially higher than that of youths in general, at only 7%. As described on their website, networks like the Gay-Straight Alliances in schools promote a welcoming environment and healthy relationships to prevent bullying and discrimination, hopefully minimizing the number of students victimized by a lack of understanding.
Today's walkout began at 9:30 AM only lasting 20 minutes. All LGBTQ students and allies were encouraged by the group to make and bring along signs but reminded allies that there was no obligation to join the walkout, if they weren't ready or willing to walk out of classes.
Western Canada High School Students are observed to be one of the school with the largest presence, with over 200 members occupying 17th Avenue, where Western Canada High School is located. Queen Elizabeth Highschool, also of downtown Calgary, was also said to have about 200 students showing their support.
In March, just before the provincial election, a similar rally was held in Edmonton and Calgary in the Marda Loop area, also in support of GSA's.