Members of the RCMP were on hand. They asked both sides to keep the sidewalks clear for the public at the peaceful demonstrations. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)

VIDEO: Pro and anti SOGI advocates protest outside Langley School Board office

Police were on hand but did not intervene except to ask both sides to keep the sidewalks clear.

The second pro-inclusivity rally of this school year in Langley proved a learning opportunity for proponents and opponents Tuesday evening.

A group of people were in front of the Langley School District board office prior to the Tuesday evening board meeting to make a public display of their support for inclusivity and support of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity 123 (SOGI) resource in local public schools.

The issue was on the meeting agenda but in the form of identical letters from anti-SOGI advocates Kari Simpson and Theresa Carnduff of Culture Guard Canada. School board chairman Rob McFarlane said the board has decided that people wanting to voice opinions on SOGI can make written submissions to the district but not have time at the board meetings.

“This is both unlawful and discriminatory,” the letters said of the board’s decision.

The two said they would instead post their submissions on the internet.

A handful of SOGI opponents with signs set up on the corner on the east side of 222nd Street, some in Soldiers of Odin (SoO) shirts.

Mom Rachael Wagner and her family were at the rally even though they live in Surrey where they say the school and teachers for their five-year-old have been very accepting of his gender explorations.

He wears dresses about half the time “so it’s important to me that he’s included,” she said.

The mother of three supports SOGI because she believes children should grow up supported if they do not fit into traditional gender definitions.

“I’m tired of being quiet about my beliefs,” Wagner said.

(Story continues below)

Teacher Angela Cowling and Austin Lee are the Gay/Straight Alliance teachers at H.D. Stafford Middle School and attended the rally to support local young people because there are serious implications for young people struggling with these issues.

“What SOGI is, in the grand scheme of things, is an anti-suicide program,” she said in discussions with some of the anti SOGI people at the rally.

The Langley Advance asked some in the anti-SOGI group if any of them had children in the local district and would be willing to talk about the issues. A man and woman said they would but would not identify themselves over concerns about being attacked for being against SOGI.

Cody Greffard has two children in the Surrey school district but wanted to come to the Langley rally to voice his opinion on SOGI.

He’s not a full member of Soldiers of Odin Delta chapter, but has been with the group for more than four months. He says it’s not affiliated with the original right-wing SoO founded in Finland.

For him, the issues were the lack of public say on SOGI and parental rights to teach their children about inclusivity and tolerance.

“It should be voted on,” he said. “Even if it’s sometimes the wrong decision, it should be based on the majority.”

He and some of the others SOGI opponents spent time talking with the pro-SOGI members.

Dave Jensen has three children in local schools and opposes SOGI.

“It’s about the rights of the parents,” he told the Advance.

He disagrees with sexual orientation and gender identity issues being raised as early as kindergarten.

“I think sexual education should probably be in the later grades,” he said.

Jensen said SOGI probably started in a good place but became overreaching, and he often feels attacked for publicly voicing opposition.

The Langley RCMP were on scene asking both sides to stand on grass medians and not the sidewalks.

 

H.D. Stafford Middle School teachers Austin Lee and Angela Cowling attended the inclusivity rally on June 19. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)

An inclusivity rally was held June 19 before the Langley School District board meeting. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)

Rachael Wagner, with Henry in his rainbow carrier, attended the inclusivity rally on Tuesday evening. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)

People for and against SOGI 123 met on the street corners near the Langley School District office before the monthly board meeting where the issue was expected to be on the agenda. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)

Just Posted

Spartans squeak out pre-season soccer victory in Oregon

Trinity Western’s women’s soccer team plays in Washington today, then at home on Saturday night.

Langley woman’s graduation marks expansion of PTSD service dog program

Delta-based B.C. and Alberta Guide Dogs Society and Vancouver Island Compassion Dogs merging to service to more veterans

Bevy of remarkable birthdays celebrated in Aldergrove

Maudie MacPherson (age 101), Vera Banner (91) and Alice Utas (95)

Take-home naloxone may be replacing 911 calls in parts of Lower Mainland

Naloxone kits handed out up 29% over 2017, ambulance calls and emergency visits down 22-24%, deaths hold steady

Pond hockey banned in public parks under updated Township bylaw

Public spaces bylaw imposes new restrictions on smoking, possession of drug paraphernalia, geocaching and more

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

VIDEO: World of Magic coming to Vancouver

Seven magic shows will appear at the Vancouver Playhouse from September 7 to 9

Safeway union urges prejection of mediator recommendations

Says mediator asks for too many concessions

Fire chases B.C. crews out of their own camp

Crews in Burns Lake had to leave after a wildfire reportedly overtook their sleeping quarters

To address peacock problem, B.C. city moves ahead on trapping plan

Surrey’s new bylaw focuses on ensuring people no longer feed the birds, ahead of relocation

VIDEO: RibFest kicks off in Langley

Free event features barbecue ribs, chicken, pork and brisket from Canada’s top rib artists

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

About 1,000 Saudi residents called back to kingdom after suspending diplomatic relations with Canada

Bernier diatribe against ‘extreme multiculturalism’ boosts Liberal coffers

Party spokesperson Braeden Caley says online donations doubled, social media engagement quadrupled

‘Disjointed’ system hinders British Columbia First Nations in wildfire fight

More than 550 wildfires were burning in B.C. and crews were bracing for wind and dry lightning

Most Read