One day before the provincewide municipal election campaign kicks off, B.C.’s Education Minister and other organizations involved in K-12 education issued a statement in support of the government’s inclusive policy to prevent discrimination against LGBTQ students.
The statement on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) was issued on behalf of Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education and Child Care as well as the BC School Trustees Association, the BC Principals and Vice-Prinicpals’ Association, the BC Teachers’ Federation, and others (full list below).
“We know that each child expresses themselves in their own unique way and some have been bullied and ostracized in the past,” the statement reads. “All of B.C.’s provincial education partners for K-12 schools – public and independent – are standing together in solidarity to ensure every school is a place where all students deserve to be welcomed, included and respected in a safe learning environment, while being fully and completely themselves. No student should be excluded or bullied because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
“In 2016, the B.C. Human Rights Code was amended to ensure that gender identity and expression are protected under the code. There is no room for any type of discrimination in our schools. As provincial education partners, we stand together in this commitment. All 60 school districts, independent and First Nations schools have SOGI-inclusive codes of conduct and policies in place and many are participants in the B.C. SOGI Educator Network. We have joined collaboratively with ARC Foundation and 11 education and community partner groups to form the Provincial K-12 SOGI Collaborative, officially committing to creating learning environments that are safe, respectful and welcoming for all B.C. students.
“B.C.’s K-12 curriculum includes a focus on valuing diversity and respecting differences, as well as human rights and responses to discrimination. Students deserve to have the complete support of teachers, administrators, support staff, trustees, parents, guardians, caregivers and their community, as we work together to create learning environments where all students are free from discrimination so they can thrive and succeed in their school years and beyond.”
The full list of organizations behind the above statement are: BC School Trustees Association; BC School Superintendents Association; BC Association of School Business Officials, BC Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association; BC Teachers’ Federation; CUPE BC; BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils; Federation of Independent School Associations; ARC Foundation; First Nations Education Steering Committee; and the First Nations Schools Association and Métis Nation BC.
“If you or a friend is experiencing discrimination or harassment related to sexual orientation or gender identity, get help here: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/erase/help.”
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