The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Curriculum or SOGI implemented this school year in the public schools have upset many parents in the Lower Mainland who did not expect what the program was about. The program seeks to educated children in elementary and in high school about LGBTQ lifestyles so that children will be more tolerant and accepting of them.
“All across Canada, parental rights are being attacked. The role of parents is teaching their kids, and making decisions for them,” an angry Langley parent letter starts. “Schools have brought in SOGI. Now, teachers are taking over the role of parents and teaching their kids. Parents were never told about SOGI, because teachers and government knew parents would reject it. That is why they shoved SOGI down our throats.”
“Led by educators and SOGI leaders from across Western Canada, SOGI 1 2 3 equips educators of all backgrounds and experiences with tools and resources for supporting marginalized LGBTQ students and for creating safer and more inclusive school environments for all students,” the SOGI website explains.
This is not the case, however, according to many groups who are against the implementation of the curriculum.
Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld is facing calls to resign after posting negative online comments regarding the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity program (SOGI) in B.C. schools. Neufeld set off a firestorm of controversy after posting on Facebook that he would risk being labelled a “bigoted homophobe” for his opinion that allowing children to change gender was “nothing short of child abuse.” He says that it is unfair for the government to take away a parents’ rights to educate their children in these matters.
Kari Simpson, Executive Director for CultureGuard says “It’s a political cult, expanding globally—and according to the School Act, which prohibits sectarian influence in the classroom, that’s illegal.” Simpson quoted directly from some of the SOGI lesson plans, providing examples of how SOGI is going to alter children’s sense of their sexual identity.
“In kindergarten, teachers are instructed to tell children ‘gay is when two men love each other.’ Teachers are then instructed to ask children to imagine what it would be like to have two moms or two dads as parents,” Simpson adds.
Some parents have reportedly complained after their children have come home from school after a SOGI lesson telling them that if girls play sports and like to play in the dirt, that they are boys, and that if boys like to play with their sisters, then they are sexually oriented to be girls.
The parent of a high school boy complained to the Surrey school board and 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. Surrey school district spokesman Doug Strachan said that a team of teachers was involved in the lesson planning for three Grade 8 classes but was not exactly what was done in the class. 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.”
With all the confusion of the new curriculum, a number of parents are concerned at the eligibility of the teachers to teach such a delicate issue. A Delta parent asked whether teachers are even qualified in a capacity as a psychologist to process the programs and lessons, especially when it adversely affects the younger children.
“How can we, as parents, be assured that our children are given the psychological and emotional support if they don’t understand what they are being taught? Have they realized that these children come from various homes with different sets of values, cultures and beliefs that may not be compatible with what is being taught?” The parent also expressed concern that parental rights to educate their children are no longer respected and recognized.
Some parents have gone to their schools to have their children opt out of the program. According to the Langley Schools District, “The Provincial Government has allowed for some flexibility in the delivery of certain ‘sensitive areas’ of the curriculum, specifically topics related to reproduction and sexuality that some students and their parents/guardians may feel more comfortable addressing by means other than instruction by a teacher in a regular classroom setting.”
“We want our children to learn from our own family values, and part of this is to learn to respect everyone regardless of what and who they are,” a Delta parent said. He said that he does not like the idea of something being forced down their throats as it impinges on their right to raise their children according to their values.