SOGI in SD71
SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) in SD 71
The following information is provided to explain how Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) is being discussed in the classroom. It is important to note that there is no separate and distinct SOGI program or curriculum. SOGI is an inclusive term that represents all individuals regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Students deserve to have the complete support of teachers, administrators, support staff, trustees, parents, guardians, caregivers and their community, as we work together to create learning environments where all students are free from discrimination so they can thrive and succeed in their school years and beyond.
In 2016, the B.C. Human Rights Code was amended to ensure that gender identity and expression are protected under the code. There is no room for any type of discrimination in our schools. As provincial education partners, we stand together in this commitment. All 60 school districts, Independent and First Nations schools have SOGI-inclusive codes of conduct.
SOGI is not curriculum. There is no “SOGI curriculum.” However, throughout K-12 curriculum and school activities, students and teachers explore the topic of human rights and:
- What it means to value diversity and respect differences.
- How to respond to discrimination.
Teachers may include discussions around the B.C. Human Rights Code, sexual orientation and gender identity. Most school districts in B.C. are part of a network for educators who are interested in SOGI-inclusive education – the B.C. SOGI Educator Network. It’s important for schools to be inclusive and safe spaces for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Being SOGI-inclusive means:
- Speaking about SOGI in a way that makes every student feel like they belong.
- Not limiting a person’s potential based on their biological sex and how they understand or express their gender.
- Welcoming everyone without discrimination, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
B.C.’s K-12 curriculum includes a focus on valuing diversity and respecting differences, as well as human rights and responses to discrimination. The Ministry of Education is responsible for the creation of BC curriculum. Teachers, schools, and school districts may explore the B.C. Human Rights Code within those themes including, but not necessarily limited to, sexual orientation and gender identity. Topics related to gender and self-identity are included in the curriculum for knowledge, as well as to help students understand and respect diversity, as with the previous curriculum. Sexual and reproductive health is specifically covered within the Physical and Health Education curriculum. As with the previous curriculum, there is an Alternative Delivery policy that enables students and their parents/guardians to consult with their school and choose means other than regular classroom instruction to address the learning standards in this area. Teachers have been teaching this curriculum for years, but there is a legitimate need for increasing awareness of sexual orientation and gender identity to be to be as inclusive as possible.
When all three pillars of SOGI- inclusive education are implemented, students have the opportunity to flourish. Inclusive learning involves every part of the education system.
Studies show that having SOGI-specific anti-bullying policies improves the school climate for LGBTQ and heterosexual students, reducing discrimination, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts for all students.
We encourage you to read the information on this webpage and visit the webpages below:
• Physical & Health Education https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/curriculum/physical-health-education
• BC Government Media Release https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2017EDUC0104-001810
• BC Government SOGI Factsheet https://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/sexual-orientation-and-gender-identity-sogi-in-schools
• BC Government Media Release https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2016EDUC0089-001625
• BC’s New Curriculum https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca
You can find a PDF of our SOGI Policy here.