Dance cancelled at Alberta school following threats against teacher for climate lesson

Dec 9 2019, 3:02 pm

A dance was cancelled at an Alberta school following threats against a teacher who delivered a climate lesson about non-renewable resources in the province.

The situation started when a teacher at Iron Ridge Intermediate Campus, near Red Deer, Alberta gave students a lesson on how Albertans interact with the environment, according to Jayson Lovell, Superintendent of Wolf Creek Public Schools.

“It was a grade four social studies lesson, and the teacher was teaching from a topic in the grade four social studies curriculum,” said Lovell in an interview with Daily Hive.

“Students were exploring and reflecting upon, specifically, ‘how do albertans deal with competing demands on land use?’ The teacher gave some examples, one of which is oil expiration,” said Lovell.

Lovell says the oil sands were discussed through two different videos chosen by the teacher, one produced by the Government of Alberta, and one produced by Greenpeace.

The teacher then had students pull the main points out from both of the videos and write an opinion paper.

Following the lesson, a posts on a Blackfalds community Facebook group threatened the teacher who delivered the lesson to students, with some individuals saying they were going to confront the teacher at an upcoming school dance.

“Generally speaking, the comments came in the form of coming to the school and disrupting the actual event, and there were a number of comments that reflected that,” said Lovell.

“When we saw those we felt that there was enough concern in those comments that the safety of the students and the staff, and the community there was a concern so we made the choice to cancel,” said Lovell.

In a letter to students and parents, Jayson Lovell, the superintendent for the Wolf Creek Public Schools district, addressed the incident.

“Please know that this was not an easy decision, as we know the excitement students and families have for this event, and the value it carries in the school,” said Lovell.

“But through events that unfolded throughout the week, the safety of students and staff at the event became uncertain, forcing us to make that ultimate decision.”

Lovell says Blackfalds RCMP investigated and reviewed the information posted to the Facebook page and a ticket has been issued to one individual.

“We proceeded using section 256 of the Education Act — theres a section that indicates that no person shall disturb or interrupt the proceedings of a school, and that was the ticket that was issued to one individual as a result of this,” said Lovell.

As per the content of the lesson, Lovell says the teacher’s assignment met learning outcomes.

“I had the opportunity to review the content and all the information that was presented, and I would suggest that the teacher did an excellent job in representing the specific outcomes of what is expected of teachers in Alberta when it comes to critical thinking and understanding all sides of an issue,” said Lovell.

Since the incident the specific postings around the teacher have been taken down says Lovell.

The dance will be rescheduled sometime in the New Year.