BCSTA President Stephanie Higginson was on hand for a sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) education funding announcement in Burnaby September 7.

The announcement took place in front of a rainbow crosswalk at Cariboo Hill Secondary School. Education Minister Rob Fleming committed $350,000 in funding to provide resources to make schools safe and welcoming for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The funds will be used to hire a SOGI expert at the ARC foundation who will train teachers and staff across the province. The funding will also expand the annual SOGI Education Summit. This year’s summit will be held in Richmond in October.

“I was pleased to be able to attend the announcement and show BCSTA’s support for this important program,” said Higginson. “Children learn best when they feel safe and accepted. Increased funding for SOGI education is an important step in ensuring that every student feels safe in our schools. I am happy to see co-governance in action on this important topic. The funding that Minister Fleming announced will help boards of education in their commitment to create safe and inclusive schools across BC.”

Educating students of all ages about gender diversity and sexual orientation is an important step in helping them understand their own identities and in developing empathy when meeting people with a different gender identity or sexual orientation from their own.

The SOGI 123 learning resource toolkit was created in collaboration with the ARC Foundation. the Ministry of Education, the BC Teacher’s Federation, the UBC Faculty of Education, and other education partners, including the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC).

Find out more about SOGI education in BC at bc.sogieducation.org.