Teri Towner | Community Builder | Inspirational Speaker | Coquitlam City Councillor

SOGI 123

I have been receiving numerous emails and voice messages from voters asking my stance on the SOGI 123 curriculum.  (Sexual orientation and gender identity)  I have been answering the question in two ways:

First, I let the writer/caller know that school curriculum – including SOGI – is entirely the responsibility of the provincial Ministry of Education, that it has ALREADY BEEN MANDATED by the Province and City Council isn’t involved at all in the operation of what resources are provided in schools or what is taught in our schools.  I take very seriously, in my role of City Councillor, the concept of “staying in my lane”.  I don’t tell other levels of government how to achieve things within their mandate.

That said, I am heavily involved in advocating for various things that fall under the mandate of other levels of government.  Some examples of this include advocating for an increase in funding for mental health supports, transportation improvements that are funded provincially, funding for subsidized housing and more buses (which is Translink) etc.  I have advocated heavily for a ridehailing framework, for policy that takes away a City Council voting on its own remuneration – and more. But when it comes to curriculum items under the mandate of the School District or the BC Ministry of Education, I am not involved.  Just as I would not expect a SD43 Trustee to advise a City how much to charge for a Bylaw infraction or how to determine a land use zone etc.

I will say however, that the approach so far regarding this topic is obviously creating a significant amount of needless angst.  I am hearing about it repeatedly on the doorsteps while out door knocking – it really does appear to be top of mind.  In my opinion, it may have been better for the Ministry of Education to go a little slower, to provide more information and to get parental understanding of it first rather than simply imposing the change without explanation and without laying out the parameters etc.  More appropriate, thorough and timely information may have prevented this unnecessary backlash.