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Quesnel School District clears the air over Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity education

The Superintendent of the Quesnel’s School District says there is a lot of misinformation out there about the new Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) education that is being used in classrooms.

Dan Lowndes says it is not a course that is being taught.

“SOGI education is not a prescribed curriculum and that is a really common point of misinformation out there.  SOGI education is a set of resources that support inclusive policy development, it supports inclusive learning environments as well as suggesting inclusive teaching resources.  There is a common belief that there is a SOGI curriculum which simply doesn’t exist.”

Lowndes says some of the rumours are pretty far-fetched, including talk of students getting hormones in school.

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“I can assure you that would absolutely not be the case.  There are a number of far etched pieces of information, I’ve heard of litter boxes in classrooms at one of our schools, I’ve heard a number of things, and I can assure you of course that none of those would be happening in the schools in Quesnel.”

Lowndes says they are also not encouraging kids to be an animal or furries.

“Whether it’s teachers or the District we do not suggest that students develop a particular set of beliefs around sexual orientation or gender identity.  Teachers simply follow the BC curriculum that is available on the Ministry of Education website.  And all information that is shared is developmentally appropriate, I can assure you that.”

Lowndes says the education doesn’t happen at a set point of time and can come out of a conversation that’s brought up at any point throughout the day.

He says one example could be when talking about families.

“A teacher may share a fictitious example of a child who lives with his grandparents, and another who lives only with a single parent, and another one who lives with multi-generational parents or families, and another who lives with a foster family, and then another who lives with same sex parents.  There are diverse family networks in our community and we need to represent them all, and not exclude any of them.”

Lowndes says the majority of talk comes when students ask questions.

He says they also encourage students to go back and have conversations with parents and guardians.

Lowndes encourages parents and guardians with concerns or questions to contact their school or him directly.

SOGI was the focus of protests and counter-protests across the country this week, including in Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House.

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