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New Policy Mandating Parental Consent for Preferred Pronouns Introduced by Saskatchewan Minister

Saskatchewan Education Minister Dustin Duncan says parental consent is required before a child can go on a school field trip and therefore should also be necessary if a child asks to be called by a different name or pronoun.

“If we are requiring school divisions to get parental consent to go on a half-day trip to the Science Centre, then I think we need to be treating this issue with the same amount of seriousness,” Mr. Duncan said at a news conference on Aug. 22.

“When we look at the school system already, there are a number of touch points … where the parents have to be involved.”

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He said parents are involved in things “that are less critical in terms of a student’s development, a kid’s development, than something as significant as the desire to change their name, to change their gender, to identify as a different gender.”

Saskatchewan is the latest province to bring in a new policy it is calling a “new parental inclusion and consent” policy. In part, it requires that schools seek parent or guardian permission to change the preferred name and pronouns used by a child under the age of 16 while in school.

Other Provinces

New Brunswick Progressive Conservative Premier Blaine Higgs implemented a similar policy on June 8.

N.B. Education Minister Bill Hogan announced that as of July 1, students under the age of 16 could not change their names or pronouns in school without parental consent. The new policy requires the school to talk to students about contacting their parents on the issue, or directing the student to a mental health professional to “work with them in the development of a plan to speak with their parents if and when they are ready to do so.”

“We believe that it’s fundamentally wrong to not share this information with the parents if we are using [a student’s preferred name] on a daily basis,” Mr. Hogan said. “If we are using it on a daily basis, it puts teachers in a really challenging position.”

Mr. Higgs said the province had to find a solution “where we do not exclude parents in their child’s life.” He said the policy is “taking a strong position for families” and standing up for parents.

At a news conference in Manitoba on Aug. 17, Progressive Conservative Premier Heather Stefanson also announced her party would be proceeding with an updated policy on parental rights if re-elected.

“You raised them and nurtured them, so who better than you—as parents—to know what’s best for your child as you send them off to school?” said Ms. Stefanson.

She indicated that a re-elected Progressive Conservative government would “formalize and enhance rights for parents and guardians in the Public Schools Act.”

The premier said that would include the right for parents to be involved in cases of alleged bullying, children’s behavioral changes, and if a child discloses a desire to be recognized by a different gender at school.

New Policy

Saskatchewan’s new policy states that parents and guardians must also be informed about the sexual health education curriculum and have the option to decline their children’s participation. The government has told school boards to immediately “pause involvement” with any third-party agency undertaking sexual health education while the ministry of education evaluates a review of resources.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe signaled his support for the move on Aug. 22, saying, “Well said, Minister Duncan,” on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Our government has heard the concerns raised by Saskatchewan parents about needing to be notified and included in their children’s education in these important areas,” Mr. Duncan said in an

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