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Mission Public Schools SOGI information meeting deteriorates quickly

School district manages to share information before protesters disrupt presentation
The debate became heated on Tuesday (Nov. 28) night as Mission Public Schools presented a SOGI 123 Myth Busting session at the Clarke Theatre. One woman began drumming and singing in an attempt to drown out the shouts of protesters and preserve the peace. / Kevin Mills Photo

Mission Public School’s “SOGI123 Myth Busters” event ran smoothly on Tuesday night (Nov. 28) at the Clarke Theatre – at least for the first half hour.

But once question period was announced, a group of protesters and objectors shouting from the crowd convinced school superintendent Angus Wilson to bring the proceeding to a quick halt.

It took close to an hour to clear the theatre as people continued to call out and attempt to confront organizers. One man brought a bullhorn into the theatre and shouted out “leave the kids alone” among other things.

Organizers played loud music to drown out the bullhorn.

Some members of the audience seemed to be upset because, although everyone was told when they entered the theatre that questions would be accepted in written form and read out from the stage, they wanted to ask them directly and began to shout out questions and comments.

While police were on hand, no serious incidents took place and the crowd eventually dispersed,

“I’m glad we hosted the event and the presentation was completed. I’m very sorry that the folks from other communities came to disrupt so our parents couldn’t ask their questions. Bringing a bullhorn tells me you’re not interested in learning. I’m also sorry our community had to experience that, but the good news is that based on responses I’ve received, love always triumphs over hate. This won’t stop our work to support our students and their families,” said Wilson.

The first part of the meeting featured Shannon Grieg, principal at Christine Morrison Elementary, Krysta Hamm, inclusive support teacher at ES Richards Elementary and Sharon Widdows, principal at ES Richards, addressing concerns about SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) 123 education.

They listed several myths about SOGI and attempted to clear up any misinformation.

One myth they addressed is that SOGI promotes specific sexual orientation or gender identity when in fact “it does not promote any specific identity and is designed to create a safe and inclusive environment for all,” they stated.

The presenters said another common misconception is that SOGI resources are inappropriate and have explicit content in them, which they said is not the case.

“There are no pornographic or explicit content in any SOGI resources,” rather they deal with identity, family diversity, stereotypes, bullying and more.

Other issues discussed included parents’ involvement in the SOGI education process, age-appropriate materials and the history of the curriculum to name a few.

Shannon Grieg, principal at Christine Morrison Elementary (left), Krysta Hamm, inclusive support teacher at ES Richards Elementary (right) and Sharon Widdows, principal at ES Richards (middle), addressed concerns about SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) 123 education. / Kevin Mills Photo

Kevin Mills

About the Author: Kevin Mills

I have been a member of the media for the past 35 years and became editor of the Mission Record in February of 2015.
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