fYrefly in Schools is an iSMSS educational initiative developed to help reduce discrimination against sexual and gender minority youth, increase awareness of the impacts of homo/bi/transphobia, and equip students with the tools they need to become effective allies for diversity, equity, and human rights within their schools and communities.
Explore and engage with LGBTQ+ terminology
Identify and analyze the effects of homophobic language
Debunk myths and stereotypes about LGBTQ people
Identify ways to act as an ‘ally’ [in support of LGBTQ people and their rights]
FYrefly in schools – know your rights!
Bill 10 is “an act to amend the Alberta Bill of Rights to Protect our Children.” Specifically, section 11.1.2 is amended to read “(3) This section (parental notification) does not apply to incidental or indirect references to religion, religious themes, human sexuality or sexual orientation in a course of study, educational program, instruction or exercises or in the use of instructional materials.”
Bill 10’s ascension paved the way for fYrefly in Schools to participate in classroom contexts as a Human Rights program. As a Human Rights program, fYrefly in Schools is exempt from any obligation to parental notification. Here is how we navigate the complexities of this conversation and how we train our Educators:
Educators and volunteer panelists know that they are not to delve into sexual health questions during sessions. It is possible that they may discuss attraction, or who they may enter into relationships, or partnerships with. (this is protected under the human rights act and removed from 11.1). There could also be discussion around asexuality, in that those who identify this way may not experience sexual/physical attraction.
Each session ends with a question period, where there is open discussion based on what the audience wishes to know more about. We have a question box students can submit to, so they can ask anonymously. It is important to note that we may not get to every question, and that sometimes questions will be omitted entirely if it is too personal, disrespectful to our volunteers or panelists, or goes beyond what is permitted as a point of discussion.
If questions come up that are omitted we will:
Model a person's right to pass from answering invasive questions about their bodies
Direct students to the community resources, such as those available on the fYrefly website
Encourage them to seek out good, scientifically accurate information from trusted adults/teachers.