New Langley parents group stands against discrimination, intolerance

A new group supports initiatives aimed at fostering understanding and kindness in Langley schools.

Langley Parents for Inclusivity has emerged onto the scene this weekend.

Last week, a spotlight was turned on a Langley woman taking a political stance against a sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI 123) initiative being implemented in the public school system.

Activist Kari Simpson was speaking out against the LGBTQ education and outreach project being offered in Langley and other B.C. public schools.

READ: Conservative Langley activist opposes LGBTQ education project

Simpson helped organized a few public meetings and subsequently launched a group called Parents United Canada (PUC).

As way of background, SOGI 123 was created as a resource for use by B.C. teachers, with the provincial Ministry of Education, the BC Teachers Federation, nine school districts, and Out In Schools, among other groups. The project includes best practices and curriculum resources for elementary and secondary classrooms.

Simpson is now vowing to hold further meetings and keep lobbying the Langley board of education for obliteration of the SOGI 123 initiative locally.

But in retaliation, of sorts, there is now a group emerging that opposing Simpson, PUC, and what they stand for – and they’re planning their own public meeting later this week.

Several local parents, calling themselves Langley Parents for Inclusivity, have chosen to counter PUC’s efforts by creating their own group after reading about Simpson and her effort through the Langley Advance (online and on Facebook).

When Tamie Simunac learned that the SOGI opponents had spoken at the last two school board meetings, and were scheduled to speak again at the Sept. 26 board meeting, she suggested being there.

“We need to all be attending this to stand for equality and love, not this disgusting hate and homophobia these people are spreading,” Simunac said.

Fellow Langley Advance reader Geraldine McManus concurred.

“It’s time the majority stood up and said these fringe groups don’t speak for all Langley parents. They seem bigger than they are bcz they scream louder. If we were all a little more vocal in our support we could drown out this nonsense pretty quickly,” McManus said.

“I’d love to attend this meeting,” said Stacey Wakelin, who has since spearheaded a more concentrated effort to counter Simpson and PUC.

“How about we form a parents’ group that stands for acceptance, kindness for all, and understanding?” Wakelin said.

“In my mind, this isn’t about religion, it is about human rights. If you look through history, certain groups have been persecuted because they were deemed different. I do not believe discrimination in any form should be tolerated,” she added.

Adamant that the other side of this debate must also be heard, Wakelin said: “I’m not interested in disrespecting religious views, however, I can’t stand by while kids are made to feel less than, repulsive, etc. It’s wrong.”

Wakelin was recently recognized as a volunteer of the year for Langley, and has been behind a few compassion pop-up projects and a Christmas Oatmeal Project – all aimed at helping Langley’s homeless.

Since learning about the creation of PUC and Simpson’s role late last week, Wakelin has turned her attention on this “potential injustice.”

And, she’s been joined by a handful of other parents in Langley who feel the SOGI education is important and believe it should remain.

“We are debating about adjusting the public school curriculum because of a group’s belief system. If these parent’s object so strongly, then perhaps they should remove their children from school during these lessons?” suggested the Willoughby mother.

“We do not believe that anyone is trying to brain wash, or recruit our children by educating them on all aspects of human sexuality or gender identity. As a society, we need to evolve to stop allowing fear and ignorance displace human decency,” she said.

“Langley Parents for Inclusivity wants to looking for the same opportunity to support their “belief system and fight hateful behaviour in our community,” Wakelin said.

Anna Mullens is another Langley woman motivated to speak out against the PUC philosophy.

“There is more love in this town than hate,” Mullens shared with the Langley Advance.

“By standing together with other parents and citizens who support inclusivity over discrimination we can send the message that every child (without exception) deserves to feel safe, accepted and appreciated. Our message is not directed at the parent who opposes life-saving education, it’s directed at our LGBTQ youth – to show them that they are strongly and actively supported by their community and always will be,” Mullens said.

Parents for Inclusivity is gathering Thursday, Sept. 14, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in a multi-purpose room at Langley Events Centre, 7888 200th St.