School District No. 46 (SD46) approved a new sexual orientation/gender identity policy at its final school board meeting of the year, June 12.
The policy states that everyone in the school community is responsible for creating safe, welcoming, respectful, inclusive and affirming environments for all individuals.
It also notes those who identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning “face a unique set of challenges within our school system.”
“Individuals who are dealing with or those perceived to be dealing with issues of gender identity, gender expression, intersexuality or sexual orientation, as well as their families, are frequently the targets of homophobic, transphobic and/or heterosexist behaviours,” the policy states.
“This often has profound social consequences, including discrimination, harassment, physical and sexual violence, social and emotional isolation, substance abuse, homelessness, school truancy and drop-out, self harm and suicide.”
While the board unanimously approved the policy, which came forward from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) ad hoc committee, trustee Betty Baxter said some work would need to be done to implement it.
“Having a piece of paper doesn’t help people understand the policy, so there should be some kind of training or presentation of the policy to individual schools,” she said.
The board decided to keep the LGBT committee intact to help implement the policy in the fall.
After years of searching for an affordable fix to drainage issues at the Kinnikinnick Elementary School field, a new proposal has come forward that can be done at a cost of $30,000.
Previous cost estimates to fix the field were anywhere from $90,000 to $250,000 and they involved draining the water to the sides of the field and away from it.
The new plan channels the water into a nearby manhole.
“The reason for the big reduction is none of the other people who looked at that field ever mentioned the man hole that’s about 40 feet [12 metres] from the field and at a lower level,” said trustee Greg Mewhort.
The board was in favour of the new, less expensive plan that will be put into action this summer.
The community can expect some consultation around overcrowding at West Sechelt Elementary School next year.
The issue was briefly talked about when trustees accepted minutes from the operations committee.
“My understanding is certainly at West Sechelt that there’s going to be an overcrowding issue within the next 10 years, if not sooner, and that’s maybe understating the issue,” said secretary treasurer Nicholas Weswick.
“I think that there’s a pressing need for a discussion of enrollment versus capacity at West Sechelt and less so at Halfmoon Bay specifically around some new information that’s come to light.”
Board chair Silas White said the committee will likely start discussion and community consultation about the issue in early October or November.
Students are now on their summer break with school starting up again on Tuesday, Sept. 4. There is a change to the calendar for the 2012/13 school year with the addition of a new Family Day holiday on Monday, Feb. 11.