NEWS File Photo Ballenas Secondary School raised the rainbow flag last year in support of its LGBTQ community. But the school and the school district efforts are more than just symbolic, with ongoing work to change policies and educate staff and students using a new B.C. wide plan called SOGI 123.

UPDATED: Nearly 200 B.C. pastors launch anti-SOGI campaign

They call themselves the West Coast Christian Accord and are asking the province to pull the course.

Close to 200 Evangelical pastors from across B.C. have launched an anti-SOGI 123 campaign, calling on the province to remove the sexual orientation and identity material from school curriculum.

The pastors, who call their statement of faith the West Coast Christian Accord, sent a letter signed by 180 pastors and 1,000 signatories to Education Minister Rob Fleming Wednesday.

“We contend that the SOGI message contradicts the Christian truths, disrespects Charter values, and is harmful to school children, their parents, school teachers, and society as a whole,” the letter reads.

It’s the latest group to contend the suggested resources that help staff teach students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 about LGBTQ+, sexual health with anti-bullying messaging.

WCCA_Launch_GFX from WCCA on Vimeo.

In a statement to Black Press Media Friday, Fleming said the curriculum focuses on ensuring a safe environment on school campuses, where all students and staff can express themselves without fear of discrimination or harassment.

“It’s disappointing that some people are spending their time and efforts on attacking SOGI 123 – a resource broadly supported by B.C.’s education sector partners,” he said. “I am focussed on ensuring all students feel welcome and accepted in BC schools regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Glen Hansman, BC Teachers Federation union president, told Black Press Media Friday that while the pastors are welcome to their view on transgender people – or LGTBQ people in general – it does not change the onus on the school system.

“However, personal views, when they are discriminatory, have no place in the education system,” he said in an email.

“There are many times when the values at home may conflict with what is taught in a secular, non-sectarian public education system,” he added.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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