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Letter: Anti-SOGI demonstrators are scaring children at schools

The protestors claims they want to protect kids, yet many students called home because they were frightened by their behaviour, this letter writer says
A pride progress flag flies at the Lonsdale Quay waterfront in North Vancouver. | Nick Laba / North Shore News

Dear Editor:

On Monday a group of adults, none of whom had children attending the school, took it upon themselves to protest outside of North Vancouver's Ridgeway Elementary. This group claims they want to protect kids, yet many students called home today because they were frightened by the protestors’ behaviour and felt unsafe staying at school.

This group’s anti-SOGI messaging claims that SOGI curriculum is not age appropriate, but I wonder if they have actually looked at the curriculum.

The lesson materials are prepared by trained educators who know how to approach all sorts of complex topics in ways that are age appropriate. What elementary students learn from SOGI curriculum is that it is OK to be who they are and that they should treat others with respect and acceptance.

They learn not to tease someone for how they dress or behave. They learn that the world is made up of lots of different kinds of families and that what defines a family is love and the way they care for one another.

I fail to understand how such teachings are inappropriate for young children. Such messaging helps to reduce bullying and allows students, families, teachers and other staff to feel safe and accepted at school.

To those who want to protest in front of North Vancouver schools, go home. Our rights come with responsibilities, and it is irresponsible to exercise your freedom of speech in a way that frightens children and upsets families who are just trying to get to school.

Jessica Liew
North Vancouver