I’m writing in response to the Chilliwack Progress letter of March 3 titled “Shame on teachers, the Chilliwack school district, the superintendent, and librarians” (www.theprogress.com).
I have deep concerns about the comments made in this letter by former Chilliwack school trustee Darrell Furgason and his negative targeting of 2SLGBTQ students by calling out a queer-inclusive resource. Mr. Furgason’s attacks on these important aspects of our education system are not only misguided but also deeply harmful to the well-being of our students.
Inclusivity is a critical component of our education system, and it is essential that all students have access to accurate and comprehensive information. However, Mr. Furgason’s comments suggest that some topics should be excluded from education based on his personal beliefs. This is not only discriminatory, but it also goes against the principles of evidence-based education.
Moreover, Mr. Furgason’s negative targeting of 2SLGBTQ students and those who support them is deeply concerning. All students deserve to feel safe and supported in our schools, and educators must create an environment that is welcoming and inclusive of all identities. By targeting 2SLGBTQ students, Mr. Furgason is contributing to an environment where these students may feel isolated and unsupported. This can have severe consequences for their mental health and academic success.
It is alarming that Mr. Furgason implies that the moral and sexual preferences of educators are a factor in the education of our children.
This type of rhetoric is not only discriminatory but is also based on an outdated and harmful stereotype that suggests that students can be influenced to adopt certain sexual orientations or identities. It is crucial that we move past these types of damaging attitudes and instead focus on creating an education system that is inclusive and accepting of all identities and orientations.
Mr. Furgason points out that one of the aims of the district is student achievement, and that having inclusive resources does nothing in that regard. A study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence in 2016 found that LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices in schools were associated with higher levels of academic achievement and engagement among LGBTQ students.
Students deserve to learn in an environment that is free from discrimination and judgment, and it is the responsibility of all educators to provide this for them.
Chair, Advocacy Canada
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