Moose Jaw is now under the spotlight after the Prairie South School Division (PSSD) was granted permission from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education to offer an accredited course on gender and sexual diversity.
The PSSD consulted with Moose Jaw Pride to create the curriculum, which is the first of its kind to be offered to youth in high school in all of Canada.
“It’s an optional course for youth who want to go a little deeper into their understanding of what gender and sexual diversity means and how to be a better ally,” said Joe Wickenhauser, executive director for the local pride office. “Looking at things like the history of gender and sexual diversity in this city and in this province.”
Tony Baldwin, PSSD director of education, noted that there are several ways the curriculum can be created. One way they do that is a provision at the ministry for divisions to develop local curricula if they feel there is a gap in the education model.
“In the last couple of years we’ve identified that there’s a gap connected to LGBT issues and knowledge for kids, so I’m excited to work with Moose Jaw Pride and build that course,” said Baldwin.
With this course being called the only one of its kind to be offered to high school students across the country, Baldwin is pleased that it’s happening here.
“All of Moose Jaw should proud, we have great schools, with great kids (and) teachers and we have all kinds of diversity in our schools.”
Wickenhauser also hopes with this new form of education on gender and sexual diversity that it will lower the number of children who are bullied during their high school years.
“I think that the answer to a lot of discrimination and intolerance that people experience is often education and just being able to understand a difference rather than to be afraid of it or hate it. I think when we start to see one another as people and we when we start to understand the differences between us, I think that’s when we start to empathize and start breaking down those barriers.”
The gender and sexual diversity course is set to begin in the second semester of the upcoming school year.