Surrey school board ramps up ‘anti-homophobia’ policy
SURREY, British Columbia, November 25, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Surrey School Board has tightened up its newly minted “Safe and caring schools” policy with what it calls a “statement of values” that “underscores” its commitment to “eliminating discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”
In the amendment to its June “anti-discrimination” policy, the Surrey school district will now “not permit or tolerate any homophobic and/or transphobic behavior such as harassment, intimidation, discrimination or bullying, whether by commission or by failing to act to end such behaviour.”
The district justified the new policy this summer, stating that it “recognizes that school community members identifying (either publicly or privately) as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirit, intersex, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) face a unique set of challenges within schools and communities.”
It was only a little more than a decade ago that the Surrey School Board went to bat in the courts on behalf of concerned parents to keep homosexual children’s books out of primary grades.
Parents were outraged when James Chamberlain, a homosexual activist and kindergarten teacher in a Surrey school, wanted three children’s books promoting homosexuality to be read in his classroom. These were “Asha's Mums”, “Belinda's Bouquet”, and “One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dads, Blue Dads”.
Pro-life-and-family activist Heather Stilwell led the fight on behalf of parents as a member of the school board. The battle went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ultimately ruled that a school board may not ban pro-homosexual books targeting children if they meet the “criteria laid out in the curriculum guidelines.”
Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin ruled at the time that “tolerance is always age-appropriate” and that “children cannot learn this unless they are exposed to views that differ from those they are taught at home.”
But even after the Court ordered the board to review its decision against the books, Stilwell managed to ensure the books were rejected on grounds such as bad grammar, lack of Canadian content, or poor graphics.
Chamberlain, now a vice-principal in Vancouver, told CBC News that he was “pleased to see [the Surrey district has] finally taken some decisive action and are starting to move away from the homophobic history of the board.”
But the British Columbia Parents and Teachers for Life (BCPTL) has critiqued the new policy as a “pro-homosexuality propaganda program” and is telling parents in the district to “beware”.
“This means there will be training for teachers and counsellors to be instruments of propaganda on behalf of homosexualist activism, support for ‘Gay-Straight Alliances’ (GSAs) that spread propaganda among students, and the altering of curriculum to make sure that the pro-homosexuality message permeates it,” the group stated in a September press release.
“It is a pattern that is all too familiar to those of us who have studied the reports of such activism in school districts in Canada and in many other parts of the Western World,” the group added.
Voting citizens have a “responsibility to speak out,” says the group. “Unless we act, our children will be put at risk psychologically, emotionally, and physically.”
Surrey School District Board of Education
Shawn Wilson, Chairman
Phone: (604) 583-0634
Email: [email protected]