Parental Rights, Professional Autonomy and Contested Pedagogy Under the Alberta Human Rights Act

Dianne Gereluk, Marie Farrell, J. Kent Donlevy, Peggy Patterson, James Brandon


Undersection 11.1 of The Alberta Human Rights Act (2009), teachers are now required to give prior written notice to parents when subject matter of religion, human sexuality, and sexual orientation are primarily and explicitly addressed in class. In light of this new legislation, the main intent of this initial one year research project was to examine the policies and procedures of one particular school district to investigate compliance with section 11.1 of the Alberta Human Rights Act. Specifically, we examined: To what extent has section 11.1 changed teachers’ pedagogical practices? As such, this paper has two primary objectives. First, we provide an overview of the background in the lead up to the legislation. Second, we report on the impact of this legislation on teachers’ pedagogical practices. We argue that the ways in which teachers have internalized the legislation has had varying effects on their teaching practice and their professional autonomy. This study will be expanded to consider the effects on curricular practice across the province.


Teacher Practice; Professional Autonomy; Parental Rights; Alberta; Religion; Sexuality; Sexual Orientation

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ISSN 1920-4175 Critical Education