GALE-BC Calls for Ministry Audit of Abbotsford School Board

    VANCOUVER, Sept. 30 /CNW/ - Gay and Lesbian Educators (in fact, many
educators) of B.C. have very grave concerns about the Abbotsford School
Board's recent actions to censor course content and obstruct the delivery of
Social Justice 12 at W.J. Mouat Secondary School.
    "Abbotsford School Trustees' recent actions to remove some of the content
of a Ministry of Education (M.O.E.) approved course demonstrates the very
oppression addressed in the course, while working against the creation of safe
and caring schools for all students - not just lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender (LGBT) students. Social Justice 12, like any other Ministry of
Education approved elective course, should be available to any student who
chooses it, provided the school has the enrolment, resources and teacher(s) to
teach it and in this case it did," states high school teacher, Noble Kelly.
"What about the rights of the students to a quality education with content
-not a 'watered down' substitute - that will prepare them for living and
working in a world respectful of diversity? This board, also by its actions,
is stating loudly and clearly that it does not have faith in the Ministry of
Education's process for the development of course curriculum in this
    "As a member of the curriculum writing team who worked with the Ministry
of Education to design the course, I find the actions of the Abbotsford School
Board shocking! After a rigorous two years of community and stakeholder
consultation, researching and designing of course content by a team of
educational professionals and piloting in seven school districts, one would
think that the process of M.O.E. approval would be enough that it then
shouldn't also need the blessing of a school board," states Faune Johnson. "In
fact," she continues, "to eliminate certain content of a M.O.E. approved
course based upon what appear to be the homophobic views of some trustees or
parents, sets a dangerous precedence and opens all approved courses (not just
electives) to the modification whims of any school board!"
    If the Abbotsford School Board believes they can freely alter course
content at will, our organization wonders what other courses in the district
like Planning 10, Family Studies or any other Ministry approved course has
been altered because its content may be in conflict with the views of some
trustees or parents? Therefore, GALE-BC calls for an immediate Ministry Audit
of the Abbotsford School Board (ASB) in terms of how they design, teach and
deliver course content. The ASB needs to prove to the general public that they
can comply with Ministry of Education standards for course delivery without
indiscriminate censorship of course content. There is clearly an onus on this
board to prove to the LGBTQ community, as well as the community at large, that
they value all citizens and are actively educating students to create a more
socially just world.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Noble Kelly, (778) 996-9900;
Jane Bouey, (604) 876-4123

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