School district denies claim 100+ students walked out of SOGI presentation

Out in Schools film screening in Abbotsford went well, presenter says

Claims that more than 100 students walked out of a school presentation about sexuality and gender are “completely erroneous,” according to the Abbotsford School District’s spokesperson.

Kayla Stuckart was responding to claims made online by a Christian TV host and an advocacy group that has spent months campaigning against sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) education in B.C. schools.

In a Facebook Live video broadcast around 1 p.m. Thursday, 700 Club Canada host Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson spoke to two Robert Bateman Secondary students, Ethan and Josh.

The two boys say they refused to attend a presentation at the school from Out in Schools, an educational program that uses films to teach school kids about homophobia, transphobia and bullying.

“We already know about it. We have access to the internet. They just keep forcing stuff on this that we don’t need to learn,” Ethan tells Thompson. He goes on to suggest that education about LGBT identities and issues should be confined to a separate and optional class.

Josh says he also felt the presentation was unnecessary: “They put everybody in a giant room and start talking about how they want respect and stuff we know [about] giving respect.”

Thompson, whose daily program airs in Joy TV, praised the boys in a subsequent Facebook post.

“We are in a war and I am so incredibly proud of these kids who are showing us how it’s done!” she wrote.

In response to an email from The News, Thompson said she had no part in organizing the “walk out.”

“This is only the beginning,” she wrote. “Kids, parents, teachers and school trustees are starting to be fed up with being bullied into the constant LGBTQ indoctrination.” She called supporting transgender students in transition “child abuse.”

Stuckart said the assembly was not optional because it is part of the B.C. curriculum.

She said the presentation “was well received by students and staff – and even a few parents who requested to attend.”

One of the Out in Schools presenters, Gavin Somers, told The News the two presentations they gave at Bateman “went really, really well.” (Somers identifies as gender non-binary and uses they/them pronouns.)

“After the first presentation, we had about a dozen students come up to us and just give us a lot of really great positive feedback and gratitude for us being there,” they said. “We had some really great and thoughtful questions throughout both presentations and there were no kerfuffles or no one walked out.”

Somers said the film screenings share “stories that allow folks to see experiences that might be different than their own.”

“It’s really an inviting space to allow folks to ask questions to explore maybe their own relationship to identity and … we share our own experiences,” they said.

“So we recognize that with homophobia and transphobia, a lot of what happens is the fear of not knowing and so when we’re able to personalize these experiences, we find that we’re able to help shift school culture into becoming more inclusive and supportive for all students.”

Somers said studies show more inclusive and supportive school environments for LGBT students benefit all students and reduce levels of mental illness, bullying and violence.


@KelvinGawley
kelvin.gawley@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Erikson’s Daylily Gardens and Perennials holds annual open house

Pam and Tom Erikson have 17th annual charitable fundraiser at their private Langley garden

VIDEO: Open-to-all sprinter event for dogs comes to Langley

The second event of its kind in Canada since new rules were implemented

VIDEO: Riding against MS in Langley

MS Bike — Fraser Valley Experience collects more than $140,000

VIDEO: Langley City legendary water fight was a soaking good time

And perfectly timed for a hot weather warning

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

SilverStar officially opens Gondola

The brand-new gondola is now offering scenic rides for visitors on SilverStar Mountain Resort.

VIDEO: Man climbs crane in Abbotsford

Police, fire called to deal with climber last night

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Most Read