Anti-SOGI advocate, Jenn Smith, appeared before the Fraser-Cascade School Board on Mar. 5 to make a presentation regarding the “dangers” in one of the educational resource guides the District has approved to help teachers create inclusive environments. (Sarah Gawdin/Hope Standard)

Fraser Valley anti-SOGI advocate visits Fraser-Cascade school board

Jenn Smith urged board to ‘ban the resources completely’

One of the biggest anti-SOGI advocates in the Fraser Valley, Jenn Smith, presented to the Fraser-Cascade School Board (SD 78) at the March 5 meeting, but what will come from it remains to be seen.

In an email submitted late last year, a delegation lead by Smith requested time to present before the board regarding “the dangers certain kinds of material found in new digital resource databases pose to vulnerable children with psychological and emotional troubles.”

As there are no specific guidelines within the District requiring delegations to be local residents, the Abbotsford-based Smith was given 10 minutes to present his position that the sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) resource adopted by the British Columbia Ministry of Education in 2017 is bad for children.

RELATED: Hope school board candidates talk SOGI, successes and rocky patches of past four years

Transgender is a “social contagion … and it starts in the schools,” said Smith, who identifies as transgender. He then urged the board to “set up processes to alert parents (to the usage of these materials), or to ban the resources completely.”

SOGI 123, as the resource is officially called, is a collection of materials for teachers to help them create a more inclusive environment for students of all genders, sexual orientations and backgrounds.

Since it was implemented, it has been a topic of great debate in places like Chilliwack, which saw a number of school trustees run in the last election based on their opposition to the resource.

It also seemed to be a topic of interest to many in the Fraser-Cascade school district: assistant superintendent Kevin Bird noted this was the first time he’d seen this many members of the public at a school board meeting. The majority of spectators left after Smith’s presentation.

Yet, at the end of the meeting, Laura and William Baptiste, who say they recently moved to Hope, questioned trustees about Smith’s presentation, and wanted to not only know why the board hadn’t asked any questions, but also wanted to know what the trustees’ responses to the material were.

As elected officials, “you have power over (our) children, and that’s a great responsibility,” said William. “I just want to make sure that people are thinking about these things and not just the typical responses for people (where) they put their head in the sand.”

RELATED: Anti-SOGI trustee says he is victim of workplace discrimination

Unfortunately, “we don’t respond during the meeting to delegations,” explained board chair Linda Kerr. “We take it in and (will maybe) discuss it at a later date.”

However, Kerr pointed out that like many of their provincial counterparts, SD78 passed a motion in October 2017 to join 57 of B.C.’s 60 school districts in creating a SOGI network of schools.

“Our over-arching goal is inclusion,” added superintendent Karen Nelson, who also presented at the meeting on the District’s recent Pro-D day on March 1, which showcased renowned speaker and LGBTQ2S advocate, Ivan Coyote.


 

@SarahGawdin on Twitter
SarahGawdin on Instagram
Sarah.Gawdin@HopeStandard.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

More and more electric cars are on the road, but one Chevy Bolt owner was shocked to see how much his BC Hydro bill skyrocketed once he started charging the vehicle. (Black Press file photo)
Rosedale man sees significant spike in BC Hydro bill after purchasing electrical vehicle

An increase should be expected, but Brian Chwiendacz experienced a 200-plus per cent hike

File Photo
Halloween and history collide in Agassiz this month

The spooky displays at the museum are on now until Halloween

Chilliwack-Kent 2020 provincial election candidates, clockwise from bottom left, Kelli Paddon (NDP), Eli Gagne (Libertarian), Jeff Hammersmark (Green), Jason Lum (Independent), and Laurie Throness, who began the campaign as a BC Liberal but left the party on Oct. 15.
Advance voting nears 5,000 in Chilliwack-Kent

More than 380,000 voters have voted in advance across B.C.

Owen Charpentier, 21, is charged with the Oct. 22, 2019 second-degree murder of Keith Baldwin in Chilliwack. (File)
Pre-trial dates set for Chilliwack man charged with Keith Baldwin’s murder

Owen Dale Charpentier accused in the fourth homicide of 2019 next in court June 2021

Working smoothly together on May 11, 2020, health minister Adrian Dix, B.C. Liberal health critic Norm Letnick, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and sign language interpreter Nigel Howard. (B.C. government video)
COVID-19 co-operation a casualty of B.C.’s pandemic election

NDP’s Horgan weaponizes senior care, B.C. Liberal Wilkinson calls for ‘wartime economy’

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island residents warned to watch livestock, pets after bear kills llama

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

A 34-year-old man was treated for a gunshot wound in Williams Lake Monday, Oct 19, 2020. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake man treated for gunshot wound after accidental shooting: RCMP

Police are reminding residents to ensure firearms are not loaded when handling them

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A past extreme weather response shelter set up for women inside Surrey’s Nightshift Street Ministries. (Photo: Chris Paul/nightshiftministries.org)
Homeless people in Surrey face ‘shocking and scary’ scenario this winter

Last winter there were nine Extreme Weather Response shelters in all of Surrey and White Rock. So far, during this pandemic, there are only five lined up for the coming winter

A injection kit is seen inside the newly opened Fraser Health supervised consumption site is pictured in Surrey, B.C., Tuesday, June 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. records 127 fatal overdoses in September, roughly 4 each day

Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria continued to see the highest numbers of overdoses

Most Read