[Vancouver, B.C, – September 22, 2017] – The British Columbia School Trustees Association (BCSTA) would like to express its full support for boards of education, the Ministry of Education and the Provincial Government in their work towards fostering safer and more inclusive communities for all British Columbians, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

In 2016, the Government amended the BC Human Right’s Code to include explicit protection for gender identity and expression, and, following that, the Ministry of Education required all public boards of education to address gender identity and expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination under their codes of conduct. BCSTA fully supports both the intent behind the decision and the requirement itself.

As stewards of public schools and their students across our province, it is important that we speak out against intolerance and prejudice in any school district or community in British Columbia. The mission of the BCSTA is to support and advocate for improving student achievement for all students in BC. Embedded in that is the responsibility of upholding of each and every student’s and staff member’s right to a safe and inclusive environment, where they can express themselves without fear of discrimination or harassment. School trustees are proud to work with our education partners in advocating for equality and safe environments for students, teachers, administrators and community members across our province.

BCSTA would like to encourage all member boards of education to write their own messages of support for sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) inclusive policies and initiatives.