A controversial Langley anti-SOGI activist used photos of a former Langley student in a presentation, incorrectly claiming students were “in drag” frequently in B.C. schools.
Kari Simpson of Culture Guard gave a presentation in Coquitlam Wednesday. It was recorded on the group’s Facebook Page.
Simpson used the photos of at least two students from a Langley high school in the presentation.
“This is how they go to school,” Simpson told her audience, incorrectly claiming that there are no longer dress codes in schools.
“If they want to dress up in drag, as drag queens, they’re allowed to,” she said. “Every day.”
Simpson told the Advance the photos were used with permission.
“Actually I talked to one of the kids months ago about the posting, and he said, ‘Go ahead, do whatever,’” Simpson said.
The conversation came in the context of a dispute on social media between the student and another person.
The former student’s parents are upset about the inclusion of the photos in the Culture Guard presentation. They were contacted by a teacher at the school who had seen one of the Culture Guard presentations that included the photos.
“She [Simpson] takes a lot of things out of context,” said Cliff Empey, the father of Cameron, one of the students in the photos.
“I’m kind of outraged,” said Cathy Empey, the student’s mother.
One of the pictures was taken on Hallowe’en, and the other was taken at a Pride event, Cathy said.
“They don’t dress like that at school,” she said.
The Empeys are calling for Simpson to stop using the photos and to issue a public apology.
“We’re looking into the lawyer route,” said Cathy.
The family supports the SOGI 123 program and has spoken to B.C. Parents for Inclusivity, a local group founded by Stacey Wakelin about the issue.
Simpson was asked if she knew the photos were from Hallowe’en.
“That’s not what I understand,” Simpson said. “And regardless, it’s not what schools are for.”
She said she’s had no contact with the student or family since her video was posted.
School board chair Rob McFarlane said he is still looking into the situation, and can’t comment on the specifics.
But in general, he said photos of students should not be used without permission.
“There’s rules around when student photos can be used,” McFarlane said.
Langley School District does have a dress code, referred to as “dress guidelines” on the district’s website.
“Clothing should demonstrate a respect for the school community,” the guidelines read in part. “Clothing should meet standards of suitability that are typical of an office workplace and should not be offensive to others.”
The guidelines also ban any clothing that promotes alcohol or drugs, encourages sexism, racism or bigotry, and bears direct or indirect messages related to violence, gang culture, sex, or pornography.
The district’s code of conduct also forbids “discriminatory conduct on the basis of race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, political beliefs, and age.”
“Discriminatory conduct includes publishing or displaying anything that could discriminate against another based on accommodation, service and facility, or expose them to contempt or ridicule, on the basis of the above grounds,” says the code of conduct.
The presentation focused on Simpson’s claims about Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI123) a set of materials in use by B.C. schools.
Simpson and her conservative group have protested against SOGI numerous times around the Lower Mainland and farther afield around the province.
She recently claimed to have invited the Hells Angels to an anti-SOGI protest in Vancouver, saying members of the outlaw motorcycle gang were parents too.