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Langley Teachers Association questions lack of policy

The Langley Teachers’ Association has called out the board of education for not having a policy around the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) students.

“It’s now 2013 and there is no policy. Langley (trustees) started an ad hoc committee a year ago (to look into this) and there is still no policy,” said LTA president Gail Chaddock-Costello at last week’s (Jan. 29) school board meeting.

“The meetings being held right now are to decide whether there is a need for a policy in Langley. We are long past discussing whether or not this is an issue.”

A 2011 survey done of students in B.C., showed that 46 per cent of gay and lesbian youth have attempted suicide at least once.

Forty per cent of LGBTQ students have low self esteem and two-thirds have heard homophobic slurs at school.

Chaddock-Costello said LGBTQ students aren’t a visible minority and need protection against harassment.

Trustee Rob McFarlane who sits on the ad hoc committee, said trustees are taking this seriously and just going out to consult schools to see if there is a need for a policy. He hopes the committee will be able to present something to the board in June.

The LTA would like a code of conduct policy that prohibits discrimination and homophobia and provides a safe environment for LGBTQ students.

The union wants the school board to outline what discipline and action it  would take place if there was harassment and make sure it is consistently enforced.

School administrators are expected to go out to each school to ask students about whether they think it’s necessary to have a standalone policy for LGBTQ students, or if the current code of conduct policy is appropriate.

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