According to the board, the survey intends to “identify barriers and inequities and inform actions the division will take to enhance student success.”
“We want every child to walk in through the door every day and feel welcomed and feel a sense of belonging,” said Nancy Petersen, the managing director of strategic division support at EPSB.
“We need to have a better understanding of who students are.”
The survey is part of the EPSB's Anti-Racism and Equity Action Plan to foster understanding of the “continued injustice toward people of colour and our growing awareness of tragedies in our colonial history.”
Though officials are still determining how the information will play a role in shaping the future of education or policy, they intend to continue promoting anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion.
The survey commenced on November 1 and will collect data until December 16, with parents reserving the right to exclude their children from the data collection should they choose to do so.
However, a concerned parent, Monica Marchand, writes that parents cannot see the questions as the school board refuses to disclose them.
“Please help parents here in Edmonton,” she pleads.
Esme Vee, founding member of Canadian Women's Sex-Based Rights, spoke with True North and stated there are “[concerns] about the indoctrination of children through the public school system.”
Vee claimed the survey is based on pseudoscience that the board has settled as fact.
Kent Pharis, assistant superintendent at EPSB, pointed out that not all students feel welcomed at school, with some struggling more than others. She added: “Those are all things that are really important to all of us as we work with the students that we serve.”
The board clarified that they wouldn't review students and schools individually and that educators and administrative staff would not see the individual responses to the survey.
“We're opposed to public institutions asking minors intrusive and inappropriate questions about their sexual orientation,” added Vee. “Thankfully, parents are becoming aware of the serious implications of these trends in education and are beginning to ask questions and speak up for their children.”