Sep 19 – Kelowna school board trustee has doubts about SOGI 123 program, by James Miller

A school board trustee from Kelowna has second thoughts about the sexual orientation and gender identity resources, more commonly known as SOGI 123.

Lee-Ann Tiede, who is seeking re-election as one of four Kelowna representatives on the Central Okanagan School District, made a 600-word post on the Facebook page run by the Canadian Council for Faith and Family.

“No, I cannot be in favour of SOGI 123, based on the research I have done since the board’s declaration in May,” Tiede wrote on social media.

“As a public school board, we have political correctness, governing systems and the rhetoric of the day to wade through,” she wrote.

“With death threats and lawsuits being launched towards individuals that have publicly stated they opposed SOGI 123, I fail to see how this is an anti-bullying initiative.”

The issue dominated a recent school board meeting where 100 citizens attended. Near the conclusion of the meeting, trustees were asked for an informal show of hands as to who supports SOGI 123. All trustees — including Tiede — were in favour.

Trustee Rolli Cacchioni, who was absent from that meeting, verified Tuesday he supports the resource.

“It’s being handled by professional teachers and I have total confidence that our staff will deal with the material in an appropriate way and do their usual excellent job,” he said.

SOGI 123 is a collection of resources that teachers can use, when appropriate. The resources are not part of the curriculum and it’s not mandated that they have to be used. Discussion of diversity takes place when appropriate.

“I’d like to take a sober second look at the whole thing,” Tiede said in an interview with The Courier. “I stand in awe of the fact that our Ministry of Education would roll in a program that is promoted as anti-bullying, safe environment and inclusive, but it promotes research that flies in the face of traditional family.

“This (SOGI 123) is a system that’s so divisive in our community, that it is causing parents to be anxious and not understand what’s happening. It was already implemented before parents found out about it. Parents all over the community are asking what’s happening.”

SOGI 123 is nothing new, B.C. Teachers Federation president Glen Hansman said.

“School boards have always had an obligation to offer safe and inclusive spaces,” Hansman said. “There is now better coordination between education partner groups, which include trustees and superintendents from 60 schools boards, along with the Ministry of Education. It involved experts from the health sector who specifically work with transgender youth.Teachers, principals and parents are equipped more with tools to assure that LGBTQ students have a good experience at school.”

Tiede used the word “inclusivity” repeatedly in her post and said she has many friends within the LGBTQ community. Keeping students safe, she said, is a priority.

She said SOGI 123 concerns are not limited to the Christian community.

“I have spoken with members of the Sikh and Asian community, and they too are up in arms.”

When reached for comment, board chairwoman Moyra Baxter said the ministry directed school boards to ensure policies were in place to reflect the 2016 changes to the B.C. Human Rights Code which recognizes sexual orientation gender identity.

“We complied and changed our policies. We cannot overrule the Human Rights Code,” she said.

Hansman believes Tiede needs to better educate herself on the role of a school trustee.

“As a trustee, it doesn’t allow or disallow you to determine what resources can be used in the classroom. She should probably rethink her stance and seek clarification about what her obligations are as a trustee.”

To read Tiede’s post visit: