School district denies claim 100+ students walked out of SOGI presentation

School district denies claim 100+ students walked out of SOGI presentation

Out in Schools film screening in Abbotsford went well, presenter says

Claims that more than 100 students walked out of a school presentation about sexuality and gender are “completely erroneous,” according to the Abbotsford School District’s spokesperson.

Kayla Stuckart was responding to claims made online by a Christian TV host and an advocacy group that has spent months campaigning against sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) education in B.C. schools.

In a Facebook Live video broadcast around 1 p.m. Thursday, 700 Club Canada host Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson spoke to two Robert Bateman Secondary students, Ethan and Josh.

The two boys say they refused to attend a presentation at the school from Out in Schools, an educational program that uses films to teach school kids about homophobia, transphobia and bullying.

“We already know about it. We have access to the internet. They just keep forcing stuff on this that we don’t need to learn,” Ethan tells Thompson. He goes on to suggest that education about LGBT identities and issues should be confined to a separate and optional class.

Josh says he also felt the presentation was unnecessary: “They put everybody in a giant room and start talking about how they want respect and stuff we know [about] giving respect.”

Thompson, whose daily program airs in Joy TV, praised the boys in a subsequent Facebook post.

“We are in a war and I am so incredibly proud of these kids who are showing us how it’s done!” she wrote.

In response to an email from The News, Thompson said she had no part in organizing the “walk out.”

“This is only the beginning,” she wrote. “Kids, parents, teachers and school trustees are starting to be fed up with being bullied into the constant LGBTQ indoctrination.” She called supporting transgender students in transition “child abuse.”

Stuckart said the assembly was not optional because it is part of the B.C. curriculum.

She said the presentation “was well received by students and staff – and even a few parents who requested to attend.”

One of the Out in Schools presenters, Gavin Somers, told The News the two presentations they gave at Bateman “went really, really well.” (Somers identifies as gender non-binary and uses they/them pronouns.)

“After the first presentation, we had about a dozen students come up to us and just give us a lot of really great positive feedback and gratitude for us being there,” they said. “We had some really great and thoughtful questions throughout both presentations and there were no kerfuffles or no one walked out.”

Somers said the film screenings share “stories that allow folks to see experiences that might be different than their own.”

“It’s really an inviting space to allow folks to ask questions to explore maybe their own relationship to identity and … we share our own experiences,” they said.

“So we recognize that with homophobia and transphobia, a lot of what happens is the fear of not knowing and so when we’re able to personalize these experiences, we find that we’re able to help shift school culture into becoming more inclusive and supportive for all students.”

Somers said studies show more inclusive and supportive school environments for LGBT students benefit all students and reduce levels of mental illness, bullying and violence.


@KelvinGawley
kelvin.gawley@abbynews.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

Curator Colleen Sharpe (left) and cultural exhibits technician John Bessette sit in a new interactive exhibit at the Museum of Surrey. “Dine on Time” tells the story of Surrey’s diner culture from the ’30s to the ’60s. (Photo submitted)
New diner exhibit serves local history at Museum of Surrey

‘Dine on Time’ offers glimpse into Surrey’s 1930s to 1960s diner culture

In a letter to Fraser Health board chair Jim Sinclair and president and CEO Dr. Victoria Lee Jan. 28, Delta Mayor George Harvie pitched the City of Delta become the lease holder of the Harold and Veronica Savage Centre for Supportive Care building after it is vacated by the Delta Hospice Society. (The Canadian Press photo)
Delta Hospice Society must vacate premises by March 29: Fraser Health

The health authority served the society a notice of breach of lease on Feb. 25

Image Surrey.ca
Surrey council resurrects, fast-tracks 84th Avenue connection at Bear Creek Park

The city put the brakes on this project in 2007 because of community opposition

The South Surrey and White Rock Chamber of Commerce hosted a COVID-19-related webinar Friday.
Vaccine rollout, supporting local businesses focus of virtual town-hall event

Zoom webinar hosted by South Surrey and White Rock Chamber of Commerce

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

An official investigation will be launched after VPD officers were recorded posing near a dead body at Third Beach on Wednesday morning, Feb. 24. (Screen grab/Zachary Ratcliff)
VIDEO: Vancouver officers under review for allegedly laughing, taking pictures next to dead body

Two officers were caught on video by a local beachgoer Wednesday morning in Stanley Park

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
‘Stay local’: Dr. Henry shoots down spring break travel for British Columbians

B.C. is reportedly working with other provincial governments to determine March break policies

“Our biggest challenge has been the amount of vaccine,” said FNHA acting chief medical officer Dr. Shannon McDonald. (First Nations Health Authority Facebook photo)
All First Nations on reserve to be vaccinated by end of March: First Nations Health Authority

Vaccinations continuing for B.C. First Nations amid shortages

Site C will go ahead, one year later and $5.3 billion more, the NDP announced Feb 26. (BC Hydro image)
B.C. NDP announces Site C will go ahead with new $16B budget

Reviews recommend more oversight, beefed up foundation stability work

The last three wild northern spotted owls live near the Spuzzum Watershed outside of Hope. The province recently ordered a halt to logging for at least a year to give the owls a chance to survive.  (Photo/Jared Hobbs)
Logging halted in northern spotted owl habitat near Hope

Halt will last at least a year, gives time to formulate survival plan for Northern Spotted Owl

Several BC Ferries sailings are cancelled Friday morning due to adverse weather. (Black Press Media File)
Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay ferry sailing cancelled due to high winds, sea state

Adverse weather causes cancellations across several BC Ferries routes

The BC Prosecution Service announced last year that it was appointing lawyer Marilyn Sandford as a special prosecutor to review the case, following media inquiries about disclosure issues linked to a pathologist involved in the matter. (Black Press Media files)
Possible miscarriage of justice in B.C. woman’s conviction in toddler drowning: prosecutor

Tammy Bouvette was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty in 2013 to the lesser charge

A kid in elementary school wearing a face mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Metro Creative)
Union asks why an elementary school mask rule wouldn’t work in B.C. if it does elsewhere

B.C. education minister announced expansion of mask-wearing rules in middle, high school but not elementary students

Most Read