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LETTER: SOGI a distraction from education fundamentals

Our kids are safe. Their futures? Not so much.

Our kids are safe. Their futures? Not so much.

When my kids were little, they learned the, “Walk Away. Ignore. Talk it out” (WITS) program which was run by our local RCMP liaison. When they completed the program, they received a certificate, which they subsequently put up on their wall. It was a great way to help kids combat bullying and stand up for themselves.

What was once a straightforward, and age-appropriate program to support kids in our schools, is now been replaced by an ideologically driven resource, funded by one of the most powerful organizations on the planet, developed by activists without any shred of legitimacy, lobbied by militant unionists which your government then spent millions of dollars, hiring consultants and material to shill out to local school districts.

They told parent advisory boards to advertise it for them, giving them $30,000+ to push this one resource and ignore all other programs supporting best practices in the classroom. It’s become a slick advertising campaign, and those who dare to question its ideology are inaccurately labelled right-wing zealots.

So what we have seen in the recent election race are media outlets and trustee candidates, seeking to promote SOGI as their number one campaign promise, while ignoring the very serious issues plaguing our schools. Bullying, and hate, has not increased in our schools. But illiteracy, innumeracy, and a growing equity gap have.

And parents, who are concerned about this and have drawn attention to what our schools are now prioritizing, are being demonized for their efforts. SOGI has become a huge distraction, deflecting from declining student achievement, record levels of spending and flat enrolment figures.

Schools have never been safer, and education spending has never been higher, yet these two issues (SOGI and higher spending) are the top priorities for our local trustee candidates. Using SOGI as a political wedge issue does a disservice to what our schools are supposed to do. And kids are the ones paying the price.

Tara Houle

North Saanich