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Kelowna  

Anti-SOGI pamphlet distributed at Kelowna school parking lot

Activists target schools

A Kelowna woman says she was taken aback by a pamphlet that found its way onto her windshield while she was dropping off a student at Watson Elementary School on Friday afternoon.

Jodi Quibell tells Castanet she came across a woman putting pamphlets on vehicle windshields and overheard the woman talking about wanting to have a certain book banned from B.C. schools.

"When I hear somebody saying they want to ban a book, it's kind of a weird thought, so then I went to my vehicle, and I saw the pamphlet," Quibell says.

The flyer bears the name of Action4Canada, a group that has gained notoriety during the pandemic for espousing anti-vaccine views and has campaigned against 5G technology, abortion, "political Islam," the United Nations, legal cannabis and LGBTQ issues.

"Our mission is to protect Canada’s rich heritage which is founded on Judeo-Christian biblical principles," states the group's website.

The pamphlet makes a number of false claims related to sexual orientation gender identity (SOGI) education in B.C. schools.

"The gist of it was basically how dare they teach our children sex education, and how dare they teach our children to be kind and inclusive, and not bigot," Quibell said.

Quibell then said she spoke to the principal of Watson Elementary School, who was aware of the pamphlets.

"She chased somebody off the school grounds that wasn't even a parent who was trying to talk to moms and dads about the travesty of the fact that this stuff was being taught in schools."

Central Okanagan School District superintendent Kevin Kaardal said it is "unfortunate" the group is spreading misinformation.

"The people in this group are trying to incite outrage based on misinformation. Central Okanagan Public Schools employs specially trained expert teachers to teach sexual health education according to the provincial curriculum, using age-appropriate lessons and resources. Educating students about anatomy, healthy relationships, consent, sexual health, and identity is critical to their safety, health, and social and emotional wellbeing," said Kaardal.

The book in question that the pamphlet wants banned is only available to parents who want to opt out of sexual health education at school and want to teach the topic at home.

"There is a single copy of this book available in the district as a parent resource for home education that is not available for loan to students. To date it has never been requested for loan," said Kaardal.

With a new set of school trustees set to be elected on Oct. 15, Quibell is urging voters to do their research on views held by candidates before voting.

Kaardal says the school district has no tolerance for any form of "discrimination, bullying, or harassment, including from outside groups on school property."

The school district also has a FAQ page on its Sexual Orientation Gender Identity (SOGI) policy, which differs from the school system's sexual education program. The document states SOGI is merely a set of policies intended to make the school system inclusive for all by informing students "about who lives in our community."

"Informing people about the experience of someone else will not make them gay or straight, since these are not choices. As children mature, they will self-identify on their own terms about whether they are gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, or transgender – no matter how they selfidentify, it is important that they feel safe and positively reflected in what they learn," the SD23 page says.

Castanet reached out to Action4Canada for comment but did not receive a response.



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