In response to the upcoming protest against Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity (SOGI) education – planned for Monday at the B.C. legislature – the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association (GVTA) released a statement of support for SOGI and to affirm public policy of inclusion and safety for LGBTQ students.
“Our intent is to go down to show our support to parents and students in our community that are affected by this kind of hateful statement,” said Carolyn Howe, second vice-president for GVTA. “As a union we not only have an obligation to support our own LGBTQ teachers and staff but we are also proud to support them and proud to contribute to a culture of safe and inclusive schools for all students and families.”
The subject of controversy, SOGI, is a set of resources to support the B.C. and Alberta curriculum in teaching students about diversity in age-appropriate ways. It aims to help educators make schools inclusive and safe for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
The Sex Ed Sit Out protest against the teaching of sexuality and sexual orientation in schools, spearheaded by “a few moms on social media” according to the event’s website, is planned for April 23 at the legislature in Victoria. The organizer’s website says parents will pull their children out of school for the day “to say no to graphic, immoral sex education”.
They aren’t the only ones leaving school that day, as a large contingent of students from local high schools are also planning to walk out in counter-protest to show their support for LGBTQ students. As students may be subjected to hateful or upsetting speech at the protest, GVTA plans to release some teachers to go down as support.
“We are a social justice union so we consider social justice work the work of the union. Our reps in schools that are specifically assigned to do this sort of social justice work will be released from the classroom for the day, and GVTA will pay for their Teacher On Call in order for them to participate,” said Howe. “We want to make sure there are some teachers there that can help support those students if they need it.”
The protest is expected to begin at 11 a.m. on April 23 on the lawn of the B.C. legislature.
Oak Bay News reached out to Sex Ed Sit Out for comment, however at the time of publishing no reply had been received.
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