Reps say students would feel safer with a LGBTQ policy and they've asked Kootenay Lake board to address the issue.

Kootenay Lake asked by Nelson reps to firm up LGBTQ policy

A policy supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) would help all students feel safer.

A policy supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) would help all students feel safer said Nelson and District Teachers’ Federation reps who appeared before Kootenay Lake School Board.

“Not to have a policy around this is just wrong,” said Karin Hawkin, social justice chair with the NDTA. “We need a policy for those who are vulnerable.”

As an ally in the school environment, teacher Hawkin told the board at their regular February 4 meeting that she witnesses a stigma that still exists.

“I do hear terms like ‘gay’ or ‘fag’ on a regular bases and if it’s offensive to me, how do you think someone who is LGBTQ feels?” she asked.

“I don’t think things are unbearable,” she continued. “Things are improving in society. We need to bring that into the schools — be the change.”

A 2011 report issued by Egale Canada Human Rights Trust surveyed over 3,700 students from across the country over a two-year period ending in June 2009. It concluded that bullying of LGBTQ students is a serious issue that schools need to address.

Of LGBTQ students participating, 74 per cent reported being verbally harassed about their gender expression and more than one in five LGBTQ students reported being physically harassed or assaulted due to their sexual orientation.

Conversely, 80 per cent of LGBTQ students from schools with anti-homophobia policies reported never being physically harassed versus only 67 per cent of LGBTQ students from schools without anti-homophobia policies. Similarly, 46 per cent of LGBTQ students with policies reported never being verbally harassed versus 40 per cent of LGBTQ students from schools without anti-homophobia policies.

The study found that LGBTQ students are also often victims of rumours or lies and often feel unsafe and alone without support.

This isn’t the first time that the issue has come before the Kootenay Lake school board. In 2009, trustees were asked to consider a policy addressing homophobia and transphobia in schools. At that time, six boards had policies. Today, of BC’s 60 school boards, 27 have policies addressing this issue.

NDTA’s Becky Blair said she understands policy development can be slow going. She urged the district to have something out for public feedback by the end of they year.

“Take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim,” said Blair.



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

Just Posted

Lightning blamed for multiple fire starts across Kootenays

Southeast Fire Centre says ground crews, air support responding to fires near Revelstoke, Nakusp

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Capitol youth theatre morphs to film

The 32nd annual summer program has been thwarted by COVID-19

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Travel restrictions inspiring co-operation in border communities

Small border towns are asking for exemption to travel ban

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Leave your deets when dining: Restaurants taking personal info to trace COVID-19

Health officials say indoor dining presents a higher risk

Raptors kneel for both American and Canadian anthems ahead of tipoff

Majority of players have substituted their names on the backs of their jerseys with racial and social justice messages

Wild’s Mathew Dumba makes anti-racism speech, kneels ahead of Blackhawks vs. Oilers

Matt Dumba, 26, took to center ice to speak on behalf of fellow members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance

Most Read