Langley’s school board rules battle homophobic bullies

 

The Langley School District wanted to take its time to be thorough when it amended its anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policy to include LGBTQ students.

At the Oct. 28 board meeting, trustees unanimously approved the amended policy, originally from the 1990s.

“We as a board have been criticized for taking too long,” said Trustee Cecelia Reekie. “But I am glad we took the time to get it right.”

Trustee Megan Dykeman, who sits on the policy committee that came up with the amendments, said the policy had to reflect the unique challenges faced by people in the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) community.

Often LGBTQ people don’t have the supports in their lives from family, friends and others that people who have faced discrimination in the past (women, visible minorities, etc.) usually have.

She added that just as it is no longer acceptable to discriminate based on gender and race, discrimination against those who are LGTBQ is no longer acceptable.

Dykeman said the policy “now focused on the collective responsibility of all members of the school community.”

Schools, students, parents, staff and others were part of the consultation that started with the district creating an ad hoc committee after a request from the Langley Teachers’ Association a couple of years ago.

Trustee Rod Ross admitted being on the policy committee for this discussion made him think.

“A lot of my paradigms have been challenged,” he said.

Trustee Alison McVeigh said consultation with students brought out one key stance – they did not want a standalone policy for LGBTQ students but one where they were within the anti-harassament and anti-discrimination policy.

“I’m proud of this board for having this conversation,” commented Trustee Candy Ashdown.

The district will now work to educate all in its system about this policy. Policy 7200 is available through the district website and the Oct. 28 board agenda on the website.