Skip to main content

Hundreds of anti-SOGI protestors disrupt Abbotsford school board meeting

Share

An Abbotsford school board meeting was forced to end early Tuesday evening after hundreds of protestors showed up to oppose the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in schools.

Video posted to social media shows protestors confronting school board trustees, chanting “Leave our kids alone!”

Cst. Art Stele, a media relations officer with the Abbotsford Police Department, told CTV News he estimated there were around 300 people at the protest, and that no arrests were made.

Trustees had to be escorted out of the premises by police only 30 minutes into the meeting, according to the Abbotsford School District.

In a statement to CTV News, the Abbotsford School District said, “disruptions arose that significantly impacted business proceedings,” and that under the guidance of the AbbyPD, trustees adjourned the public board meeting, “due to potential safety concerns.”

Stephanie Wilson, an activist focusing on far-right extremism, said Abbotsford has been a hot-spot for anti-SOGI protests, but that she was shocked by Tuesday’s turnout.

“There have been protests at other school board meetings but not to that extent,” Wilson said. “This was something I was not expecting to see at a school board meeting.”

SOGI helps provide educators with resources to create an inclusive education. According to the SOGI 123 website, there is no “SOGI curriculum.” 

An Abbotsford school board trustee who asked CTV News not to use their name, said SOGI was not on Tuesday’s meeting agenda.

‘IT’S PRETTY SCARY’

Abbotsford is one of many school districts having to deal with a wave of protests against SOGI. In February, the Mission School District banned Action4Canada, an anti-LGBTQ2S+ group from presenting at its meetings, after an inappropriate slideshow. 

Shelley Carter, the board chair with Mission Public Schools said RCMP have attended previous school board meetings for safety reasons.

“It’s pretty scary,” she said. “I feel for my fellow trustees."

Mariel Cooksey, the executive director with the Canadian Institute for Far-Right Studies, said she expects the protests to continue to grow.

“I live in Victoria and the sudden uptick in anti-LGBTQIA+ activity here is pretty disturbing," Cooksey said in an email to CTV News.

Just last week, protests erupted across the country regarding the educational program. 

Organizers of the so-called "1MillionMarch4Children," described themselves as marching "to protect our children from indoctrination and sexualization." 

In a statement to CTV News, Rachna Singh, the Minister of Education and Child Care, said she was saddened by the protests in Abbotsford.

“All students deserve to feel safe and welcome in school,” she said. “The protests have made it clear that misinformation continues to spread and is being used to hurt students.”

CTVNews.ca Top Stories

OPINION

OPINION Where are the Prince and Princess of Wales?

What is the mysterious reason that caused Prince William to miss his own godfather's memorial service? And why is the Princess of Wales conspicuously absent? CTV News royal commentator Afua Hagan shares her thoughts.

Stay Connected