At recent board of education meetings, chair Susan Wilson has repeatedly told anti-SOGI 123 activist Chris McCay the board has made its decision and will not discuss the policy further.
In response, McCay has repeatedly looked for ways to work the issue into recent meetings. The latest attempt came at the Tuesday’s meeting.
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identification (SOGI) 123 is a provincially-mandated set of resources aimed at making public schools more welcoming environments for LGBTQ+ students.
Last month, McCay asked the board to make stickers available for all students who might feel bullied in response to rainbow stickers the B.C. Teachers’ Federation made available to schools to make LGBTQ+ students feel more welcome in public schools.
At the Oct. 16 meeting, McCay was on the agenda to make a presentation about parental rights.
“Parents need to know what their child is taught, and they need to know when their child is struggling in any way,” he said.
He outlined the story of a local couple who had problems finding out how school staff were handling some emotional and behavioural challenges concerning their children.
In one case, the older child was allegedly given prescriptions for anti-depressants, and in the case of the younger the child was allegedly cutting themselves in response to peer pressure for drug use. In each, the parents, who were not in attendance, said they were left out of the discussion. McCay said the priority of school staff maintaining confidence with unstable teenagers should not take precedence over taking a “team approach” with families when it comes to children needing treatment.
“I believe the schools are taking a dangerous approach when keeping the mental health concerns away from parents and in the hands of the counsellors,” he said.
McCay spoke about the family’s story for several minutes before jumping from parental rights in regard to the children’s mental heath needs to his concerns about parental rights in regard to SOGI 123.
“I’m concerned about SOGI 123,” he said.
At that point, Wilson cut off McCay, reminding him the board had made it clear that it has chosen to adopt the SOGI resource package and that he should skip over that section.
“We have been through our policy before,” she told McCay.
“It’s just a paragraph,” McCay said, later adding, “That cuts a huge part of where I’m trying to go with this.”
McCay finished by calling for a governing body for school counsellors.
“I’m very concerned about the programs in the schools,” he said.