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Teachers Get Death Threats Over Gay-Inclusive Bullying Policy (Video)

Teachers Get Death Threats Over Gay-Inclusive Bullying Policy (Video)

School staff in Vancouver are being sent death threats after the local school board passed a controversial anti-bullying policy.

The letters are illustrated with hand-drawn knives:

“You want to destroy our children! You are our enemy! You will be shot!” reads one typed letter, embellished with drawings of knives dripping with blood.

The Burnaby School District in Vancouver’s policy is intended to combat discrimination against LGBT students, but has been criticized by some parents for insufficient consultation and lack of transparency. A group called Burnaby Parents Voice (BPV) has picketed school board meetings on the policy. Some protesters have had Bible verses written on placards, while others have waved signs with sayings like “Respect Parental Rights.”

“I like my kids to be brought up in the natural way,” one protester told CTV British Columbia.

BPV has accused the Burnaby School Board of trying to indoctrinate youth into becoming gay.

A local conservative online radio host, Kari Simpson, filed a complaint against the anti-homophobia program in September, alleging it is “designed to dupe parents and introduce children into homosexist politics and pornography.” Vancouver Police Department spokesperson Lindsey Houghton told Xtra that an investigation into the complaint revealed “no evidence or anything to suggest that there is anything criminal going on.”

The school board is up for election and the policy is expected to be a hot topic. BPV is running five candidates in the election.

BPV has offered a $2,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest of the person or people who sent the death threats.

“The idea behind the policy is actually to protect all kids. In specific, LGBTQ youth because they are way more prone to suicide,” said James Sanyshyn, vice-president of the Burnaby Teachers Association.

The draft policy, which is available on the Burnaby District School Board’s website, is intended to help promote “safe, respectful and inclusive learning environments” by addressing “homophobic harassment and bullying.” Burnaby is the 13th school district in British Columbia to implement such a policy.

Gender Focus spoke to some of the Burnaby students. One told them:

“They want us to respect parental rights, but what about student rights? We’re the ones who have to go to school every day. We’re the ones who have to watch our friends get bullied in the hallways just for being gay.”

The project, Our City of Colours, was started by student Darren Ho following the backlash. It is aimed at addressing the invisibility of LGBT people in ethnic minorities. Like much of Greater Vancouver, Burnaby has always had large ethnic and immigrant communities.

In 2001, four men with baseball bats beat Aaron Webster to death because he was gay. The identities of the murderers weren’t discovered until 2003, but it was proven that all four were youths from Burnaby, and two of them were under eighteen. They had driven 45 minutes to Stanley Park to have some “sport” beating up gay men.

Local police are investigating the threats.

Video Xtraonline.

Related stories:

Michigan ‘Bullying OK If Religiously Motivated’ Bill to Be Amended (Video)

Animated “It Gets Better” Draws Religious Right Fire

New Dutch Campaign Supports a Child’s Right To Be Heard

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Photo by Kelley Mari

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146 comments

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5:19PM PST on Nov 23, 2011

Gay hatred has to be rooted out of the churches. They are teaching the parents and the parents
are teaching their children. The whole cycle of bullying has to be stopped. People have to speak up against hatred.

4:06PM PST on Nov 23, 2011

Clearly all bullying is wrong, but with bullying of gays , as with racially motivated bullying, there are social factors involved, and it is only right that attention be drawn to this fact.It is not just bullying, it is bullying of an individual because of the group that they belong to. Where do some right-wing parents get the idea that individuals are indoctrinated into gay lifestyles? This persistent and pernicious lie must be nailed. Perhaps the real problem for these groups is the very existence of gay children.More education of parents is clearly required. And of those in the churches too, since 99% of anti-gay prejudice originates in a religious context.Even if it is expressed by atheists, the spurious arguments they use derive more often than not from religion.

2:01AM PST on Nov 23, 2011

ALRIGHT! WHERE'S MY BEATING STICK! THERE WILL BE NO BULLYING!!!

10:32PM PST on Nov 22, 2011

How does tolerance and acceptance get turned around to become indoctrination?

It's really very simple. Bullying in schools is wrong. It doesn't matter one jot what the supposed cause is. It's wrong and every school has a responsibility to jump all over it.

4:48PM PST on Nov 22, 2011

These so called Christians really anger me! Lord, protect me from your followers. I cannot believe in this day & age such ignorance & hatred is still around, all because of a book. Sick, sad world :(

7:33AM PST on Nov 22, 2011

What a heartbreak it is that some parents consider a child being brought up "in the natural way" to mean the child being filled with prejudices, fears and hatefulness.

5:29AM PST on Nov 22, 2011

Solution: Have a group of kids, same age as the bully, and beat the living hell out of him and and group of parents do the same thing to his parents! That will work folks, everything else is just super talk!

5:28AM PST on Nov 22, 2011

Solution: Have a group of kids, same age as the bully, and beat the living hell out of and and and group of parents do the same thing to his parents! That will work folks, everything else is just super talk!

5:07AM PST on Nov 22, 2011

Thanks monica for telling it like it is. Green *

4:57AM PST on Nov 22, 2011

Odds are that straight kids of homophobic parents have been called "gay" or "fag" at some point, so they should welcome this program. At my school you don't have to be gay, but if anyone thinks even slightly you might be (or just needs an excuse to bully you), you can get bullied for it. I'm saddened to see our actually gay student constantly acting like he's into girls, because him they beat up (and they do get in trouble for that).

When it is widespread like we have it, and a lot of that is a cultural thing, we have to fight all the harder to end bullying. There's no "gay agenda" other than living life in peace. If your kids aren't gay, nobody can turn them gay. I am straight, and NOTHING would "turn me gay". We are born gay, straight, bisexual, etc. And you can't change that fact.

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