‘Unnecessary’: Lethbridge teacher speaks out against new registry

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Lethbridge teacher speaks out against new teacher registry
On Sept. 1, an online registry of more than 162,000 Alberta teachers launched to the public. However, backlash has begun against just how much personal information is being included. Eloise Therien has more – Sep 6, 2022

On Sept. 1, the Alberta government launched a new online teacher and teacher leader registry that includes around 162,000 educators.

According to the province, the purpose of the registry is to list every certificated teacher, along with all their legal names, the type of certificate they hold and the dates those were issued dating back to 1954.

The province said the registry includes details about whether the teacher or school administrator is deceased, has been disciplined or has had their licence suspended.

However, some teachers are speaking out about just how much of their personal information is being included.

Read more: Alberta to start online registry of teachers, school administrators this September

Laurie McIntosh, a kindergarten teacher in Lethbridge, said seeing her information online Friday came as a shock.

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“(I expected to see) my current legal name and saying that I had a certification,” she told Global News.

“It included my first name, middle name, maiden name, a previous married name from a traumatic relationship about 20 years ago — a name I never taught with as a teacher — and my current legal name.”

McIntosh said the documentation she was provided in June regarding the launch of the registry didn’t make it clear previous names would be included.

Those documents also state “the granting of an exemption by the Registrar will be rare and determined on a case-by-case basis.”

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She said the issue has raised alarm bells for her safety and the safety of others in similar situations.

“I think so many people didn’t apply for exemptions (beforehand) because they didn’t expect for deadnames, previous married names, maiden names to be listed,” McIntosh said, adding that applying for an exemption would rehash previous traumatic experiences for some.

McIntosh said after a thread she posted to Twitter gained some traction, all her previous names were mysteriously removed from the site. As of Tuesday morning, she said she had not yet heard back from the province on whether or not to apply for an official exemption.

Jason Schilling, president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, said there appeared to be a lack of information provided to the association and teachers in general prior to the launch.

“There’s a big difference between saying, ‘We’re going to have a registry,’ and telling somebody about it (versus) actually having an in-depth conversation about what it looks like, what will it include and what will it be when it rolls out,” Schilling explained.

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Students, staff excited for new school year in Lethbridge

“The ministry made this decision to put this registry in place and they’re the ones that are going to have to fix the issues.

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“It’s my hope that they do it sooner than later because this is one thing teachers don’t need on their plate right now.”

The Ministry of Education declined a Global News request for an interview and instead provided a lengthy statement.

“Information provided was clear that the registry would include all legal names as reflected in the information that was sent to all teachers when they received notification about the online registry in June 2022,” said press secretary to Minister LaGrange Katherine Stavropoulos.

“Previous names are not searchable in the registry because we understand these names are no longer used and that teachers may want to leave them in the past,” the statement continued.

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“At the same time, to help preserve some level of relevance and usability for people whose teachers have changed their name, a search of current legal names will also show a person’s previous legal names. This way, users whose teachers have changed their name still have some way of confirming their teacher’s professional status.”

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