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Abbotsford school board to hear about new LGBT policies, but also from SOGI opponent

Superintendent to brief board on new policies; LGBT education opponent will appear as delegation

The Abbotsford School Board will get an update on new policies to protect LGBT students and staff this evening, but it will also hear from a local parent unhappy with sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) education in schools.

Superintendent Kevin Godden is scheduled to give a report to the board on updated anti-discrimination principles, and introduce new procedures “designed to ensure that all students and staff have access to safe and caring work and learning environments, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.”

Those policies will include confidentiality for transgender students, ensuring students are addressed by their chosen name and pronouns, and providing access to gender neutral washroom for staff and students who wish to use one.

In a report for the district, Godden says the district now “meets the legal requirement set out in the BC Human Rights Code,” and that the policies have been communicated to all staff.

His presentation will come after a delegation from Wes Dyck, a parent of a Grade 8 child, unhappy with education about sexual orientation and gender identity. In a letter to the district asking to speak, he asked for more notice of SOGI education to allow parents to remove kids from classes. He said that “this teeaching is an offense, not inclusive and specifically contrary to these values.”

Dyck also said he spoke with his child’s principal and vice-principal and said he “understood from these discussions that this curriculum has been imposed on Abbotsford by the Provincial Ministry of Education.”

The presentation comes as a Chilliwack school trustee comes under fire for anti-SOGI statements and three weeks after activists railed against the curriculum at a large meeting.

The school board meets at 7 p.m. at 2790 Tims Street.

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