PEI Schools Must Remain Inclusive and Welcoming to All

Charlottetown, PEI – Recently, some parents are making propositions at home and school association meetings to remove the province’s guidelines for respecting, accommodating, and supporting gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. CUPE Education Locals (CUPE 1145, CUPE 1770, CUPE 1775, and CUPE 3260) are unanimous in their support for the existing guidelines.

“We see these guidelines as something positive for students, our communities, and our members. Making public services safe and welcoming for all is something to celebrate, not to tear down,” said Carolyn Vandaele, President of CUPE Local 3260. The provincial guidelines are aimed at ensuring schools are safe and welcoming for all students, and that children’s and staff members’ sexual orientations and gender identities are respected.

“The guidelines are 100% in line with our unions’ stance on respectful workplaces. We salute the Public School Branch’s recent public statement of support for the guidelines,” said Robert Geiss, school bus driver and President of CUPE 1145.

“We call on our Education Minister Natalie Jameson to do the same, and issue a public statement,” said Tracy Campbell, President of CUPE 1770.  “Clearly, the Department must do a better job at raising awareness and helping parents understand why these guidelines exist,” concluded John Doucette, President of CUPE 1775.

CUPE represents over 1,600 education workers on the Island. CUPE 1145 represents school bus drivers and aids. CUPE 1770 represents education administrative and support staff. CUPE 1775 represents school board maintenance staff. CUPE 3260 represents educational assistants, youth service workers, workplace assistants, student attendants, and educational language interpreters.