ISMSS (The Institute for Sexual Minority Studies & Services) is a department of the University of Alberta, monitored by the Education Department. Currently run by Andre Grace (Director) and Kristopher Wells (Co-director), who will be reassigned to strictly research roles later this year. Graphic content linked through their websites was discovered and brought to the ISMSS’s and Alberta Education’s attention in March 2017 with not so much as an apology to parents and families. However, Mr. Grace and Mr. Wells continue to influence this program through their research, though they were removed as directors of Camp fYrefly March 2018.
ISMSS’s research and recommendations for their “safe and caring schools” initiative has strayed from what initially Alberta parents thought it was. Though advertised to the public as anti-bullying clubs such as GSAs and a push for a more inclusive approach to education, evidence of sexual instruction is the shifted focus. Though helping children feel safe at school is a noble and needed initiative, how can their initiatives be considered inclusive when saturated with sexual information?
ISMSS’s research has heavily influenced changes in law, making possible for Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) to be escorted into schools. Concerns about the explicit content, the rights of parents and families to guide their children in these matters have been ignored, jeopardizing the safety of children because of secrecy.
Through each of ISMSS’s projects and satellite programs, though advertised as something helpful for LGBTQ youth (and some parts may indeed be), resemble more of a mother-ship for Comprehensive Sexuality Education dispersion, than anything else they purport it to be.
ISMSS’s influence is widespread upon the Alberta Teacher’s Association, Alberta’s Ministry of Education, School Boards and upon the public mindset. Alberta families watch as what was supposed to be a safe and inclusive initiative has felt very much unsafe for many children, as ISMSS continues to have influence over Alberta Education. Their ideologies disregard and belittle established values of many families in Alberta. This jeopardizes the health and safety of children province-wide as they push for non-medically based sexual health programs to be integrated into curriculum and include this sexual health information as part of Gay Straight Alliance resources.