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HomeNewsPG Teachers rep still baffled over philosophical divide on sexual orientation, gender...

PG Teachers rep still baffled over philosophical divide on sexual orientation, gender identity education

Prince George District Teachers’ Association President Daryl Beauregard is one of 700 delegates attending the BC Teachers Federation Annual General Meeting in Vancouver.

In an interview with Vista Radio, Beauregard said one of the highlights was the creation of a dedicated provincial executive space for a member of the LGBTQ2s+ community – a motion that received 90% support yesterday (Sunday)

“We felt it was really important to make this a priority for our provincial federation to show the outside, the ideal of what we would like to see, which is an inclusive space that is welcoming for all and celebrates diversity.”

“We had a 90% vote and had an excellent discussion and debate and it was something we all felt positive about as a delegation.”

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The announcement is a rare bit of good news for Beauregard who has been butting heads with board members within School District 57.

Last month, ahead of a highly-anticipated board meeting, Beauregard was barred from speaking after the request form he filled out days prior – a step he never had to go through before, was denied.

In addition, Beauregard has recently been very critical of the board’s silence on members of the public criticizing SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) education, and other similar programs and topics, that the district is required to adhere to.

When asked if it surprised Beauregard there is more open dialogue and transparency at the provincial level than what is currently taking place in his own backyard – he responded by stating the contrast in philosophy is troubling.

“I am not a publicly elected official, but I am elected as president of the Teachers Association. I feel that I have a responsibility to be accountable to not only my members but to the community. I am also a teacher – I have a certificate.”

“When someone has a question they should be able to ask it. When someone from the media wants to have a conversation – I want to be available. It is very disappointing that we don’t have a board that feels like they need to be more available to the public who is asking questions and to the media. I think it is disappointing.”

“I think elected officials are sometimes challenged by not knowing how to react in a positive way. That’s why when I speak to the board and the media, I want to remind the community and elected officials that they have policies for a reason and to protect the safety of staff and students and inclusiveness. I am just asking that you follow them,” added Beauregard.

Furthermore, Beauregard isn’t sure if the pushback from the school board is a failure to adapt to the current climate or just simply allowing a much more regressive element in our communities to have influence over elected officials.

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“I think some of the folks that we are challenged by who don’t like progressive inclusive spaces, they are a very loud group – but they are not large – they are small groups but they punch far higher than their weight because they tend to be very loud and very demonstrative.”

There has been more turmoil within SD 57 over the past couple of weeks. Cindy Heitman was voted out as superintendent on the eve of spring break – which was followed up by the resignations of trustees Betty Bekkering and Gillian Burnett.

As a result, a by-election will be called.

Furthermore, the silence is expected to continue within SD 57 for several more weeks as acting superintendent Pam Spooner will not speak publicly on her appointment until April 25th

The BCTF AGM began Saturday and wraps up tomorrow (Tuesday) when the next executive committee will be elected.

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