Joe Whitbread and Jo Phillips are helping children and parents navigate the world of social media. (Photo contributed)

Joe Whitbread and Jo Phillips are helping children and parents navigate the world of social media. (Photo contributed)

Dance cancelled after Alberta teacher’s climate lesson prompts online threats

School district near Red Deer cancelled annual family dance due to Facebook comments

The oil and gas sector were at the heart of a debate that led to the cancellation of a central Alberta school’s family dance.

Jayson Lovell, the superintendent for the Wolf Creek Public Schools district, said it started last week out with comments on a community Facebook page that questioned a lesson taught by a teacher at Iron Ridge Intermediate Campus in Blackfalds, just outside of Red Deer.

A parent believed the teacher was espousing anti-oil and gas values to a Grade 4 social studies class, Lovell said in an interview with Black Press Media, and only presented one side of the story.

The posts began with comments on both sides of the issues, he said, then escalated.

“It went to threats: Go to the school and the dance, which was planned for Thursday evening, and confront the teacher and cause a disturbance.”

As a result, the district cancelled the school’s annual Christmas family dance.

“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,” Lovell wrote in a letter posted online.

“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.”

The RCMP got involved and issued a ticket under the School Act for disturbing or interrupting the proceedings of a school, Lovell said in the interview.

He went on to add that an administrator had happened to sit in on that lesson, which was about critical thinking on the issue of climate change and the energy sector, and that the teacher covered both sides of the topic, as laid out in the curriculum.

Coincidentally, the district had scheduled a session this week for parents and kids on digital citizenship and online safety.

The host, Joe Whitbread, co-founder of Jo(e) Social Media, said kids are losing out in the wars parents are waging online.

“Our kids are watching their mentors, the adults in their life, use foul language, poor etiquette and be downright unkind on social media,” he said. “It’s a fight, not a debate.”

READ MORE: Youth to sue Canadian government for climate change harms, discrimination

Attendance at the social media sessions is typically poor, he added.

“There are typically 12 to 25 parents, predominantly moms, very few fathers. That’s a very low number in a gymnasium with 300 to 500 kids.”

Lovell said the district is hoping to host the family dance in the new year.

ALSO READ: Federal laws at heart of western anger up for debate as Liberals begin outreach



mamta.lulla@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ownership of SISȻENEM — also known as Halibut Island located east off Sidney Island — has transferred to W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council after The Land Conservancy of British Columbia (TLC) had purchased the island for $1.55 million. (The Land Conservancy/Submitted)
SISȻENEM (Halibut Island) transfers to W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council under historic agreement

The Land Conservancy purchased the 9.67-acre island for $1.55 million with help from unnamed donor

Metchosin council introduced a bylaw at a special council meeting Wednesday, which, if approved, would limit further subdivision of a 40-acre portion of the Boys and Girls Club property. The proposed bylaw amendment will come to public hearing on March 15. (Black Press Media file photo)
Metchosin council introduces bylaw to limit subdivision of Boys and Girls Club property

Proposed bylaw amendment will come to public hearing on March 15

Shannon Davis, manager at Sidney’s Star Cinema, holds up the largest available bag of popcorn available for sale at the theatre. It also also sells four smaller sizes in generating revenue following its closure last fall because of COVID-19. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney theatre fills bottom line with popcorn sales

Theatre applying to return to doing our household-only private rentals

The Habitat Acquisition Trust has secured a biodiverse 23-hectare parcel of land in Highlands through a donation from Anne and Jim Ganns, who owned the property for 50 years. (Photo by Jeremy Da Silva/Courtesy Habitat Acquisition Trust)
23-hectare land donation in Highlands extends permanent habitat protection

Anne and Jim Ganns pass on property purchased 50 years ago to the Habitat Acquisition Trust

Several BC Ferries sailings are cancelled Friday due to adverse weather. (Black Press Media File)
UPDATED: Remainder of many B.C. Ferries sailings cancelled due to high winds, sea state

Adverse weather causes cancellations across several BC Ferries routes

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

An official investigation will be launched after VPD officers were recorded posing near a dead body at Third Beach on Wednesday morning, Feb. 24. (Screen grab/Zachary Ratcliff)
VIDEO: Vancouver officers under review for allegedly laughing, taking pictures next to dead body

Two officers were caught on video by a local beachgoer Wednesday morning in Stanley Park

Kim McGregor died in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run accident in Chemainus. (Photo submitted)
Victim identified in Valentine’s Day Chemainus hit-and-run

Kim McGregor grew up in Chemainus and had recently returned to be close to his parents

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
‘Stay local’: Dr. Henry shoots down spring break travel for British Columbians

B.C. is reportedly working with other provincial governments to determine March break policies

“Our biggest challenge has been the amount of vaccine,” said FNHA acting chief medical officer Dr. Shannon McDonald. (First Nations Health Authority Facebook photo)
All First Nations on reserve to be vaccinated by end of March: First Nations Health Authority

Vaccinations continuing for B.C. First Nations amid shortages

(Delta Police Department photo)
B.C. youth calls 911 after accruing $7K in online gaming charges

‘Police spoke with the student about appropriate times to call 911’

Site C will go ahead, one year later and $5.3 billion more, the NDP announced Feb 26. (BC Hydro image)
B.C. NDP announces Site C will go ahead with new $16B budget

Reviews recommend more oversight, beefed up foundation stability work

Most Read