A candidate for Coquitlam school trustee who is named on a list of contenders for public office opposed to the use of SOGI 123 resources wants more discussion of the program before it is adopted in Tri-City public schools.
Hui Wang is one of 33 candidates listed on the bcsogi.ca website who say that if they are elected, they will remove the SOGI 123 curriculum from classroom instruction time.
Wang said he was aware he was named on the website and told The Tri-City News he wants more discussion at the board table about the resource before schools use the materials.
But it doesn’t appear that trustees will have a say in the matter, or at least get to comment anytime soon, according to School District 43.
In an email, assistant superintendent Rob Zambrano said SD43 has not completed its review of resources that will be used to support the new Physical and Health Education curriculum, and SOGI 123 is only one of several resources being considered.
“We have begun to work with teachers to identify which of all the many available resources are appropriate for each grade level relative to what the curriculum mandates, and remain cognizant that the intent and approach of any lesson remains inclusive, respectful and balanced,” Zambrano stated.
Further, if parents have questions, they “should talk directly to the child's teacher to attain clarity, context and intent,” he noted.
As well, SD43 notes on its website that SOGI is not a curriculum but a topic that can be addressed in many subjects, stating that there is a “legitimate need for increasing awareness of sexual orientation and gender identity to be as inclusive as possible.” SOGI follows changes to B.C. human rights legislation to include gender expression as a prohibited grounds of discrimination (sexual orientation was already include in the code), it further states at SD43.bc.ca under Resources.
But Wang, a former engineer from China and current small businessman who has two children in SD43 schools, says teachers should have more direction in how they use resources that discuss issues such as gender identity.
“What should they teach, what would be better to teach children after some age, maybe after they get more mature,” Wang said, explaining that children could be confused if gender is described as being on a spectrum rather fixed by physical attributes.
“We don’t know the boundary," he told The Tri-City News. "Maybe some teacher is good and they will be considered and select the contents very carefully, no problem. Some teachers are more aggressive, that’s our concern.”
Huang, who arrived in Canada in 2000, said he and other traditional families, some who originate from China and Korea, have questions about how these issues are discussed in the classroom.
Other trustee candidates on the bcsogi.ca list include anti-SOGI activist Laura Lynn Thompson, who is seeking election in Burnaby.