Chilliwack School District was thrown into the SOGI discussions when a trustee posted his anger with the policy on his publicly accessible Facebook page. (Black Press file)

Teachers from Maple Ridge voice support for SOGI

Important to support LGBTQ+ students, say educators

Two teachers with connections to Maple Ridge are voicing their support for the SOGI curriculum.

The pair waded into the controversy with a social media posting headlined SOGI Support, addressed to administrators, school board members, teachers, students and allies.

“In light of some of the hateful commentary and actions surrounding its implementation in BC school districts, we feel compelled to offer our whole-hearted advocacy,” wrote Kathryn Ferguson and Erin Talbot.

“In short, we will not tread lightly. We will not honour rejections of this initiative. We will not allow hate to weave a web of abuse withing the halls and walls of our public schools.

“Today, out of respect for brave LGBTQ+ youth, we will stand up for them. We stand with all LGBTQ+ youth. Furthermore, we do so with immense pride.”

The full statement can be found here:

The statement also tells the students of Chilliwack “you are not alone.”

Ferguson is a teacher at Thomas Haney Secondary who is off on medical leave, while Talbot is on leave.

The pair were leaders in advocating for LGBTQ+ rights in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows schools, and Talbot was part of the district’s Safe Caring and Healthy Schools Policy.

Ferguson calls Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows “the little district that could” for its progressive attitudes. It also added gender neutral washrooms at some schools this year.

Ferguson said they collaborated on the SOGI Support statement over the phone.

“I have never seen hate of this magnitude from any of our districts,” she said. It was breaking my heart. It was breaking both of our hearts, because we’ve seen the amazing results LGBTQ+ events and education can have,” she said. “We wanted to put out a call to arms for everyone who is like minded.”

She said the SOGI curriculum is “fantastic,” and is long overdue.

“They kids are always miles ahead of us.”

As a teacher, she said a student’s face might brighten up just by someone asking questions like what pronoun do they prefer .

“They think: ‘They get me. They respect me,’ and it’s huge.”

Conversely, she said a young LGBTQ+ student who is trying to figure out their identity could find ignorant tweets damaging.

“If you’re just 14 you haven’t built up that armour yet.”

“I just want to do my part in shutting down this abusive language.”

There have been rallies and expressions of support in Abbotsford and in Langley recently.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Say ‘Hi’ to the mountains (and rain): The smoke is gone from the Fraser Valley, for now

Saturday’s Fraser Valley air quality forecast at ‘moderate risk,’ but morning showers leave skies clear

Machine pistol among 14 firearms seized from Alaska man at Abbotsford border crossing

Corey Scott Kettering faces charges of smuggling and prohibited firearm possession

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Mission asks public for feedback on proposed Tree Management Bylaw

Currently, tree removal and cutting can take place without a permit

UFV to launch Peace and Reconciliation Centre in Abbotsford

Online event on Sept. 24 features keynote speaker Bob Rae and Steven Point

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Mother-daughter charged in 2017 torched-SUV killing in South Surrey now allowed contact

Judge grants Manjit Kaur Deo permission to connect with Inderdeep Kaur Deo through a lawyer

Thousands of child care spaces coming to 35 B.C. communities

Province announces milestone in Childcare BC plan

Most Read