Chris McCay holds up a placard at a school board meeting earlier this month. Photo by Mike Chouinard/Campbell River Mirror

Campbell River board meeting ends with SOGI opponents asking questions

Chair said at outset SOGI was not on agenda and board would not discuss topic at meeting

Once again, SOGI 123 opponents showed up at the board of education meeting to press for answers to questions, and once again they did not leave happily.

Tuesday night’s meeting came to an abrupt end as tempers flared, with some opponents of SOGI 123 calling school board chair Susan Wilson a “bully” or warning her, “We’re not going away, Susan.”

While the turnout was roughly a third of that at the previous meeting, but the 15 or so opponents on hand were no less adamant in their view the district is not addressing concerns about SOGI 123.

At the previous board meeting on May 8, board chair Susan Wilson stated the board had decided to adopt the Ministry of Education resources designed to make school environments safe and welcoming environments, particularly for LGBTQ+ people. Those opposed to the program have said the measures are not about anti-bullying but about sexuality questions that should be answered by families.

At the latest meeting, Wilson said the district will respond to written submissions, but as the item was not on the agenda they would not be answering questions on it.

Things turned emotional at the end of the night, with some people trying to ask questions about SOGI 123. When Wilson adjourned the meeting, some in the audience were noticeably upset, saying they still had questions.

“That’s why we’re sitting here,” one person said.

Someone else asked, “Do you think this passive aggressive bullying is going to make this subject go away?”

Without directly referencing SOGI, Quadra Island resident David Scott asked if there was anything in the budget to inform parents about changes to the curriculum. Secretary-treasurer Kevin Patrick responded that there was no provision in the budget.

Wilson asked if there were other questions that had nothing to do with SOGI.

One of the more vocal opponents at recent meetings, Chris McCay, also known as Christian Michael, attempted to ask a question, saying at different times his question about meetings in recent months both was and was not about SOGI.

“We really just want to be heard,” he added.

Wilson responded, “I have to say you’ve had ample opportunity,” at which point board members and staff left the meeting table.

Following the meeting, Wilson told one woman attending her first meeting that ultimately the situation reflected people’s “philosophical differences” around the program, adding the district had taken out a full page advertisement in the May 30 issue of the Mirror to address questions around SOGI 123.