Bi-Sexual, Bullying And The Burnaby School District

BI-SEXUAL, BULLYING AND THE BURNABY SCHOOL DISTRICT

 

Do you need an anti-homophobia policy for people-control within your school district? If your child goes to public school in Burnaby, the Burnaby School District has decided that you do. Their executive decision to launch a Sexual Orientation Gender Identity Policy was met with strong opposition from the public. A large number of predominately Asian parents, who are reportedly from Canada's second largest Protestant congregation, voiced opposition to the new policy because they said that it's “reverse discrimination.” They also argued that it facilitated a political agenda as well as infringed on parent's rights. Homosexual behaviour is against the faith of most Protestants. This is because the Bible strongly condemns it. Scripture records; "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." (Leviticus 18.22). The School District policy encourages teachers to include “LGBTQ” (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer) issues within the school curriculum and makes way for school libraries to be stocked with LGBTQ literature. It calls for an appointment of a staff member to act as a LGBTQ liaison, as well as calling for the appointment of staff members who serve as a “safe contact” for students who come out of the closet with their homosexual questioning and feelings.

Burnaby's Sexual Orientation Gender Identity Policy proposes to combat two viewpoints which it considers to be related. Those viewpoints are labelled heterosexism and homophobia. Burnaby's Sexual Orientation Gender Identity Policy Regulations and Procedures gives the following definitions for heterosexism and homophobia:

- Heterosexism refers to the assumption that all people are heterosexual and that heterosexuality is superior and more desirable for all people than any other sexual orientation.

- Homophobia is the irrational fear or hatred of, aversion to, and discrimination against people based on an actual or assumed sexual orientation or gender identity.

 

What specifically does Burnaby's sexual orientation and gender identity policy purpose to do?

The purpose of this policy is to:

 

a) Support inclusion of all students and employees in all aspects of school life, irrespective of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

 

b) Improve understanding of the lives of LGBTQ+ people and their positive contributions to society.

 

c) Define appropriate terms, behaviours and actions to promote greater awareness of, and

responsiveness to, the deleterious effects of homophobia, transphobia, anti-gay harassment and exclusion.

 

d) Provide effective procedures to respond to complaints of homophobic, transphobic and heterosexist behaviours including discrimination, harassment and exclusion.

 

e) Promote a systemic response through staff and professional development which strives to identify and address educational practices, policies, and procedures that perpetuate homophobia,

transphobia and heterosexism.

 

f) Make resources and support services available and visible for LGBTQ+ students and staff

throughout schools.

 

g) Act collectively to reduce homophobia, transphobia and other systemic barriers that are faced by LGBTQ+ students and staff who are “in the closet” and feel they must hide their true identities.

 

h) Commit to ongoing, constructive and open dialogue with communities who identify themselves on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity to increase co-operation and collaboration among home, school and the community.

 

Burnaby's Sexual Orientation Gender Identity Policy asserts as a regulation that “students are educated in the areas of healthy relationships, ... . ” How are teachers to go about implementing Burnaby's policy? We read that “teachers shall be encouraged to include age appropriate LGBTQ+ issues into curriculum ... . ” This is to help students to “ ... understand the impact of homophobia and transphobia upon society.” It further regulates the set-up of a network of people which include school staff who will “serve to support the distribution and sharing of resources relating to LGBTQ+ issues in education.” This network is also to provide possible LGBTQ+ students with resources for “meeting prescribed learning outcomes.” What are the Burnaby School District's “meeting prescribed learning outcomes” regarding homosexuality? They claim; “School staff shall be encouraged to support LGBTQ+ people by teaching about their positive contributions to society and modelling acceptance of diversity.” Learning curriculum and library resources are to assist LGBTQ+ students as seeing “ ... themselves and their lives positively reflected in the curricula.” The District wants as much of the material as possible available in different languages and in formats which make it easy for ESL students and their families to understand.

Burnaby's policy seeks to go further than promoting pro-homosexual, in-class instruction and curriculum/resources; it seeks to go as far as to provide pro-homosexual counselling for students. The policy regulates that “all counsellors in the district shall be educated in the knowledge and skills required to understand LGBTQ+ issues concerning students, staff and families.” The counselling program is also intended to provide a contact person for students who identify themselves as LGBTQ+ and also to make known gay/straight alliance clubs for secondary students where such clubs are available. These gay/straight alliance clubs “ ... will be encouraged at secondary schools in the district and clubs which respect and celebrate all forms of diversity will be encouraged for intermediate elementary students.” The School District also plans to work in co-operation with other LGBTQ+ organizations. Again, they regulate “the district will work to create partnerships that ensure effective participation in the education process by organizations and LGBTQ+ communities that are committed to the mission of the Board of Education.”

Many parents in Burnaby are uncomfortable with the new additions that have been made to the “mission of the Board of Education.” They are equally uncomfortable with the partnership being formed between their School District and LGBTQ+ organizations. Should students be counselled against the conservative values of parents who reject homosexuality on moral and spiritual grounds? Should curriculum, resources and library materials promote homosexuality? Is such promotion assisting students in being “educated in the areas of healthy relationships?” What if students don't arrive at the “prescribed learning outcome” of this new curriculum? Is it the place of the Burnaby School District to try to reform their values?

 

Shawn Stevens

 

REFERENCES :

Scripture taken from the King James Bible

“Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity.” Policy #5.45. Board of Education Burnaby School District #41.

bctf.ca

By quoting this document I am not claiming that the School Board endorses my article.

 

Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity.” Regulations and Procedures. Policy #5.41. Board of Education Burnaby School District #41. bctf.ca

By quoting this document I am not claiming that the School Board endorses my article.

What should your kids be earning about sex in school?” http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/10/08/what_should_your_kids_be_learning_about_sex_in_school/