By Spencer Hall, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
School District 57 released a letter from board chair Rachaell Weber and acting superintendent of schools Pam Spooner on September 20th—the same day and anti-SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) protests and counter protests were occurring across the country.
In the letter, the district said it is responsible for providing an education system that is “a safe, welcoming environment, free from racism, discrimination, harassment, and violence and that is inclusive and affirming for all students, staff, and community members.”
The board continued by reaffirming its commitment to the anti-discrimination principles in the B.C. Human Rights Code, the Canadian Human Rights Act, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“The board and staff recognize and value diversity within its school communities and believes each individual contributes to the richness of the school environment,” the letter read.
When asked if the letter was in response to the anti-SOGI protests that occurred across Canada, board chair Rachael Weber said the letter was clear and the statement was made to show the community the District provides an education system “that is a safe, welcoming environment.”
“This is a response we offer all families on a daily basis and will continue to speak over our district,” Weber said.
When asked if the District stands behind the SOGI curriculum, Weber clarified that SOGI is not a curriculum, instead, it is a collection of resources that can be used by each school district how it wishes. She added that the District stands behind all of its policies, including its anti-racism, anti-discrimination, and cultural safety policy.
However, Weber said parents who may be uncomfortable with topics being discussed at school are free to remove their child “at any time for any reason.”
According to CKPG, about 100 people gathered outside city hall in Prince George on the morning of September 20th to protest SOGI education.
One man was arrested after trying to block speakers at a pro-LGBTQ rally that took place later in the afternoon, according to CBC News.