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Students See Positive Results With Empathy Program – Part 1 Of 2

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By Sheldon Spackman

Positive results have been released regarding a pilot project that previously ran in the Red Deer Public School District, promoting Mental Health Skills for students. The Empathy Program, a University of Alberta initiative, was implemented from 2013-2015 and was offered to more than 6,000 youth in Grades 6-12.

Officials say their findings from the project show the student’s involved experienced less depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts thanks to their involvement in the program. We spoke with Red Deer Public Schools Superintendent Stu Henry to get the details locally. Here is Part 1 of 2:

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Catholic school board members oust fellow trustee for opposing LGBT agenda, talking to media

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

One of Monique LaGrange’s fellow trustees said she ‘violated the Trustee Code of Conduct by speaking to the media about what the Board did and about gender ideology.’

A Canadian Catholic school trustee opposed to extreme gender ideology and who compared the LGBT agenda targeting kids to that of “brainwashing” Nazi propaganda has been “disqualified” from her position after her fellow board members voted her out because she spoke to alternative media.

On Tuesday, the Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools (RDCRS) board of directors voted 3-1 to disqualify Trustee Monique LaGrange. As a result of being voted out, LaGrange later resigned from her position.

LaGrange’s lawyer, Alberta-based attorney James Kitchen of Liberty Coalition Canada, told LifeSiteNews that the RDCRS voted to kick her out “pursuant to section 87 of the Education Act (disqualification).”

Kitchen said that one of LaGrange’s fellow trustees “submitted a second complaint that Monique had violated the Trustee Code of Conduct by speaking to the media (specially Laura-Lynn and Talk Truth) about what the Board did and about gender ideology.”

On September 26, the RDCS passed a motion to mandate that LaGrange undergo “LGBTQ+” and holocaust “sensitivity” training for her social media post.

One of her fellow trustees had complained that because she spoke to the media against gender ideology, after she was ordered to undergo the training, she should be “disqualified.”

LaGrange said that her being disqualified shows that “Alberta has an abuse of power happening, beginning at the lowest level of politics,” in comments made to alternative non-legacy media.

She added that she hopes her removal “motivates Albertans to step up and replace these woke boards in our province.”

LaGrange said she will continue to “move forward and defend our families, our children and our freedom.”

LifeSiteNews contacted LaGrange for additional comment and will later provide more information on her ousting.

In a media statement yesterday, the RDCRS said that LaGrange had violated “sanctions issued on September 26, 2023, and further violations of Board Policy and the Education Act.”

“As a result of the disqualification, as per Section 90 of the Education Act, LaGrange resigned from her position this morning. Effective today, Mrs. LaGrange is no longer a member of the Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Board of Trustees,” the RDCRS noted.

The RDCS did not specify which sanctions LaGrange had violated.

LaGrange initially came under fire when she posted to social media in September an image showing kids in Nazi Germany waving swastika flags during a parade, with the bottom of the post showing an image of kids waving LGBT “pride” flags along with the text, “Brainwashing is brainwashing.”

After her post went viral, calls for her to step down grew from leftist Alberta politicians and others. This culminated in her removal as director of the Alberta Catholic School Trustees’ Association (ACSTA).

LaGrange was elected in 2021 and said about being kicked out of the ACSTA that it was “unfortunate that ACSTA decided to make a rash decision to remove me, refusing to acknowledge that the heart of my message was to protect our children and to nourish their God-given identities.”

LaGrange to fight her removal

Kitchen told LifeSiteNews that as far as the next steps for LaGrange, they are looking to have her disqualification reviewed by a court.

They want a “Judicial review application to the Alberta King’s Bench,” Kitchen said.

“We will be doing that here in December,” he said.

“This meme is not comparing or attacking the LGBTQ community, it is about protecting our children and keeping parents as the primary educators,” she added.

There has been growing opposition in Canada to the teaching of radical transgender ideology in schools, which not only impacts children but also those in education who voice their opposition to such teaching.

In recent months, many concerned Canadians have protested LGBT indoctrination in the nation’s schools. In September, thousands from coast to coast participated in the Million Person March.

Extreme leftists trying to push their LGBT agenda in the classrooms has led to the conservative-led governments of Saskatchewan and New Brunswick implementing parental consent policies into law.

Saskatchewan, under Premier Scott Moe, recently passed a new policy protecting parental rights that states parents must be told if their child changes “genders” at school.

Moe followed the example of New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs, who was condemned earlier this year by LGBT activists for reviewing the province’s “gender identity” policy that allowed schools to hide students’ “transgender” status from parents.

Under the new policy, teachers need parental consent to use different names or pronouns for students younger than 16.

At its recent AGM, members of the ruling United Conservative Party (UCP) under leader Danielle Smith passed a host of resolutions calling for parental rights to be protected.

Smith told 3,800 UCP members that she unequivocally defends parental rights, saying society depends on “strong and nurturing families” and parents are the “primary caregivers and educators” of their children.

Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) leader and MP Pierre Poilievre recently blasted what he called “radical gender ideology” targeting kids in public schools.

While LGBT activists have gone after the likes of Higgs and Moe for their slight pushback against gender ideology, a recent Leger poll has shown that Canadians in general favor parental rights in education, especially regarding the material being shared with children.

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Jessica Snyder honoured as 2021 Gateway Christian School Valedictorian

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Gateway Valedictorian to become a teacher to make a difference

Following in her mother’s footsteps after seeing the difference she has made in the lives of students is Jessica Snyder’s goal in becoming a teacher after she graduates from Gateway Christian School this month.

Jessica has been named the Gateway’s valedictorian this year. Graduation ceremonies will take place June 29 at Canyon Ski Resort.

“I was so excited to learn I was named valedictorian. I was so happy!” said Jessica. “It’s such a huge honour that I get to address my class and congratulate them.”

She added being named valedictorian has been a goal of hers since middle school.

“It took a lot of hard work and I had to be very dedicated to my work. It took a lot of strength especially through COVID,” said Jessica. “My family and friends really helped me to keep going and keep learning. It’s all a learning experience, so that was a motivator to me – the more I devoted myself to my work, the more I learned.”

Completing high school in a global pandemic has presented a number of challenges, but Jessica didn’t let that stop her from achieving her goals.

“It has been hard. The biggest thing that has helped me this year has been the support of my family and the Lord too – just praying for the strength to get through it and find the best path for me and my family to navigate this,” she said. “Having that steady anchor of my family and the Lord has definitely helped me keep committed and keep going.”

Looking back at her time in school, Jessica said there were many highlights, but it’s the small moments that stand out to her the most.

“Most people like to remember the big things that happen like school trips, which were so much fun. But I think the real moments where I bonded with my class were the small moments like sitting and playing Uno at lunch, and if it’s a hot day outside, we go and play at the park. It’s those small moments which meant the most to me.”

As for her future, Jessica will attend Red Deer College next year as she has been accepted to the Bachelor of Education program.

“I am going to go with the secondary route, which means I will be teaching in the higher grades,” she said. “My mom is a teacher, so I have taken after that just seeing the impact she has had on students’ lives. Growing up in a family with a teacher has definitely helped shape my life, so I think it would be great for me to follow in her path and make it my own.”

Jessica added she is excited to address her fellow classmates during graduation.

“Over the past couple of years we’ve had to show a steadfast character – being loyal and committed, devoted and dedicated whether that’s with our relationships or working towards finding a job,” she said. “I want to encourage my class to keep going with that because it helps us get to great goals like achieving our graduation.”

Chris Kooman, Vice Principal at Gateway Christian School, said he is extremely proud of Jessica.

“Jessica is a hard working student with attention to detail and a love of learning. She takes her studies seriously, working diligently to excel in every area,” he said. “She cares about her classmates, is fun and energetic, and works on relationships as much as her studies. Jessica’s willingness to help others, improve herself, and constantly improve are qualities that will take her far in life!”

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