Youth is cool with LGBTQ+. It’s unfortunate their leaders — trustees with the Central Okanagan School District — are the ones who appears to have issues.
At the most recent board meeting, trustees voted 4-2 in favour of having an information table at the Kelowna Pride celebrations in City and Waterfront Parks on June 22. The idea was brought forth by Norah Bowman, a new trustee, who considers it an additional step in showing the community that our schools are inclusive and welcoming and that hate towards any demographic won’t be tolerated. Schools must be safe for students, teachers, support staff and invited visitors.
Additionally, by having a presence at the celebration it will allow parents of gay and transgender students a chance to chat with school officials in an informal and comfortable setting about what services are offered.
The total cost to the board: $200.
One would think that with LGBTQ+ being the second-highest demographic for teen suicide (behind Indigenous youth) that everyone would welcome this idea.
Not Lee-Ann Tiede or Amy Geistlinger. Both voted against it.
Geistlinger supplied a statement about how we all need to love one another, then voted against Bowman’s motion. Tiede previously said she’s not opposed to LGBTQ+, but has serious concerns about the SOGI 123 resources.
Both women seem to confuse their strong religious beliefs with public school education.
Public schools are for all. For those who want to proselytize, it’s best to send your children to one of the many outstanding Christian private schools in the Okanagan.
Trustee Julia Fraser was also puzzling. In the greatest coincidence since Richard Nixon’s secretary erased 18 minutes of the Watergate tapes, Fraser’s cell phone battery died just seconds before the vote was taken. Fraser called the meeting from her home (which is legal and binding). Why, as soon as her call was dropped, didn’t she switch to a landline? Why wasn’t her phone properly charged before the meeting began?
Most hurtful of all was this vote took place with a high school student, who identifies as being gay, sitting in the gallery.
The positive here is that the motion did pass and good on Bowman, Moyra Baxter, Rolli Cacchioni and Chantelle Desrosiers voting in favour.
For Tiede and Geistlinger, hopefully they will participate in Kelowna Pride. They’d certainly be welcomed with open arms.
James Miller is managing editor of The Kelowna Daily Courier.