Parents sue Vancouver School Board in response to transgender policy

Dec 19 2017, 8:44 pm

A group of parents is suing the Vancouver School Board in response to the their policy which provides support for LGBTQ+ students.

The policy passed by the VSB earlier this year includes allowances for chosen names and pronouns, dress, sex-segregated sports and activities, washroom and change room accessibility and student transfers, among a wider message of anti-harassment and LGBTQ+ support.

In a petition filed with the BC Supreme Court October 31, the parents, including  Xiaofeng Huang, Yuen Cheng Li and Shaohui Li, claim “The Board is not permitted to allow a single conception of morality to deny or exclude opposed points of view or refuse to acknowledge their existence … The Board failed to consider morality, as it relates to public decency, as a factor that must be weighed against any other moral factor.”

The petition includes affidavits from 200 parents and states that the policy violates parental rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In a press release issued November 6 on the BC Parents and Teachers for Life website, they claim:

While the policy purports to provide better protection for “trans*” students, it is being challenged on the grounds that it violates the city’s building code and other students’ constitutional right to privacy.  The policy says “trans*” students shall have access to the washroom and change room that corresponds to their gender identity.”  The policy defines “trans” as including “gender non-conforming” students, which includes a child who simply expresses gender in non-traditional ways.  Masao Morinaga, the lawyer representing the parents, says the policy grants choice in washroom use to individuals who would not even be considered transgender or transsexual in Canadian jurisprudence.  He says any policy must properly balance the various rights at stake.  The policy is being challenged also with respect to its position on whether parents are entitled notice of a child’s gender-related behaviour in school.

The Vancouver School Board has not made a response to the petition.

Featured Image: Rainbow flag via Shutterstock

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