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First meeting of Steinbach GSA postponed

Posted: 04/10/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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The first meeting of the gay-straight alliance at Steinbach Regional Secondary School has been postponed to April 18.

It was to have been held Thursday, but needs more time to get organized.

"I need to get some information from Rainbow Resource Centre on how to get the group set up properly. I just want to make sure I'm doing everything right," organizer Evan Wiens said from Steinbach Tuesday.

Wiens, a 17-year-old Grade 11 student, had successfully persuaded Hanover School Division last week to allow him to put up promotional posters around the high school.

Previously, the division had said no to posters, but relented and said the GSA can put up signs the same as any other student organization.

Superintendent Randy Dueck said this week the school board will not allow media on the Steinbach Regional school property to cover the initial GSA meeting.

Steinbach has become a focal point over a key clause in Education Minister Nancy Allan's impending anti-bullying Bill 18.

The bill includes a provision that any public school, and any private school receiving public funding, must accommodate a student who comes forward requesting to start a gay-straight alliance in his or her school.

Hanover S.D. has said it will comply with the legislation, expected to be law by the time schools open in September.

However, 1,200 people turned out to a prayer meeting Feb. 24 at Steinbach Christian High School to oppose Bill 18.

Southland Church pastor Ray Duerksen told his Steinbach and area congregation in a sermon widely viewed online that God can replace any councillor, school trustee or other local public official who does not publicly oppose Bill 18.

Both Steinbach city council and the RM of Hanover council have demanded Allan review the legislation.

An aide to Allan said public committee hearings on Bill 18 have not been scheduled.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 10, 2013 A5

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