"We're teaching kids to develop and grow, and they need to be making decisions as they get older and they get wiser. Are we trying to teach tolerance and acceptance, or are we trying to teach promotion?" Higgs told reporters.
Parents should be informed if their children under 16 change their 'gender identity,' he said, fielding complaints from concerned parents to form his position on the issue.
According to Education Minister Bill Hogan, they received hundreds of complaints "at least" from parents worried about school board policies. Nationwide, most schools are not legally required to inform parents about gender transitions.
"For it purposefully to be hidden from the parents, that's a problem," said Higgs. "To suggest that it's OK that parents don't need to know — just stop and think about that question for a moment."
He added that drag queen story hours are not appropriate for children.
"Are we asking whether elementary and kindergarten kids should be exposed to drag queen reading time? That's what you're asking because I don't think they should be at that age," said Higgs.
Hogan chimed in, expressing concerns about "the age appropriateness of what is taught in the classroom when it comes to sexual education."
"We want to have a conversation with New Brunswickers so we can hear their views, address misconceptions and concerns, and provide the very best educational environment for all our students," said Hogan.
A SecondStreet.org-sanctioned poll revealed many Canadians think schools should let parents know if their child wants to change their pronouns or discuss transitioning, SecondStreet.org President Colin Craig told Rebel News.
"Governments would be wise to examine what's driving this change and consider alternative options to support parents outside the public school system," he said.
Nearly three-fifths (57%) of Canadians believe schools should inform parents if their child discusses changing their gender pronouns or transitioning. Only 18% disagreed with this statement, while 25% didn't know.
New Brunswick's education minister says their province isn't the only place "engaged in this conversation."
On Monday, Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson addressed efforts to ban literature on gender identity and sexuality from public libraries. She said her government supports the LGBTQ community and trusts that school divisions will address the matter best.
"We want to ensure that nobody is being discriminated against when it comes to information out there," she told the house. "Regarding this situation, I know that school divisions have been involved.
On March 14, a delegation asked the Winkler city council to stop funding the South Central Regional Library (SCRL) until they remove books on sexuality and LGBTQ issues from libraries that are easily accessible to minors. One of the delegation members said the material is akin to "child pornography."
The Brandon School Division (BSD) also faced a similar request during a school trustee meeting on May 8. Two trustees reportedly supported a possible ban.
According to SecondStreet.org, almost half (47%) of parents think schools should place sensitive gender identity and race-related materials online so parents can view them beforehand, whereas a third (31%) disagree.
BSD trustees will discuss the issue at their next meeting on May 24 and have encouraged people on all sides to speak at the meeting or submit written testimony.