Surrey school district spokesman Doug Strachan found himself explaining the utility of a Surrey Grade 8 lesson on “open-mindedness” this week after a Surrey parent emailed his frustrations to the Now-Leader.
The parent said that his son was told to pretend to be gay and practise “coming out” as part of a class project at Johnston Heights secondary school.
Strachan told the Now-Leader a team of teachers was involved in the lesson planning for three Grade 8 classes and “COMING OUT” STARS was “the basis” for the lesson “but was not exactly what was done in the class.”
The source of “COMING OUT” STARS is Jeff Pierce, University of Southern California. The plan is discussed in a book entitled SAFE ZONES: Training Allies of LGBTQIA + Young Adults.
The lesson plan states: “Have everyone stand up in a circle. Explain that each person is now gay or lesbian and each are about to begin their coming out process.”
Strachan said “that document was what the teachers selected to use as the basis for the open-mindedness learner attribute lesson plan,” but he added it “wasn’t used verbatim by the teachers.”
So what is going on, then?
“It’s called experiential learning,” Strachan said.
“It’s going to be difficult to say, ‘Well, here’s how the hour played out,’ or whatever it was. That is the foundation of the plan that was used as a lesson plan and to get into how exactly that played out in the hour or whatever it was, I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s in use by the other schools in the district,” Strachan said of the lesson.
“It addresses the issues that we face in a society daily and saying, try to understand what others may have to go through,” he said. “This lesson plan is to help students understand the attribute of open-mindedness. It could have been religious-related, or some other minority, or you know, there’s a number of different scenarios that could have been used that ask students to have appreciation for the difficulties of minorities or others in how they have to deal with certain aspects of their lives that may require some open-mindedness by others to understand.”
The Now-Leader reached out to the father for further comment and since our first story appeared online earlier this week he has requested that the contents of his email not be published in print.
Strachan said the Surrey lesson “used sexual orientation. It didn’t say gay men or lesbians. They talked more in broader terms. This particular program is finished, it was done last week, there’s been no concerns, it was done last year, there’s been no previous concerns or complaints of any kind.”
Kari Simpson, president of an organization called Culture Guard, maintains some public school lessons are reflecting a social-engineering agenda starting with kindergarten kids, that was brought in under the Liberals, supported by the NDP.
“What they’re moving now to do is to create gender confusion in all the kids,” she told the Now-Leader, adding the public school system’s “agenda” is “to allow students to not be constrained by societal bias. So teachers are being told not to refer to boys as boys and girls as girls because they can be anything they want and everything in between.”
“Teachers are also told not to use the terms mom and dad anymore,” she added.
“Because that’s contrary to where we’re moving to this gender neutrality. Why would we tell kids there are real things like mom and dad? There might be a child that doesn’t have a mom and a dad, although that’s intellectually dishonest.
“This starts in kindergarten,” she said, and it’s happening in Surrey. “Nobody knows about it. They circumvented parental notification. Most of your trustees wouldn’t even have an idea about it except we’ve started to get public about it so now the telephones have started ringing. MLAs didn’t even know about it.”
Simpson called it a “bully program.”
“Forcing kids to do things against their will, or when they’re uncomfortable, is to be a bully,” she said.
Has she been fielding parents complaints?
“My phone has been ringing off the hook,” Simpson said, adding Culture Guard’s current membership is “up to about 38,000 and growing in leaps and bounds.
She said her organization is encouraging students to record what their teachers are saying in school.
“We’re expecting to do a large meeting in the Surrey district at the Bell Centre here in early November,” she said.
Simpson said there is a lot of push-back from parents with students in Surrey.
“I have never seen anything like the momentum we’re building. Of course there’s always the sex activist squawk-boxers who call parents who are standing up with common sense, logic parents ‘the haters, the bigots.’ This has nothing to do with LGBTQ, has nothing to do with bullying, it has everything to do with a political program, brainwashing students.
“This is a complete abuse of the public education system and a complete abuse of children.”