British Columbia

Burnaby teacher gets death threat over anti-homophobia policy

A Burnaby, B.C., school teacher has received a death threat linked to the school district's controversial anti-homophobia policy.

A Burnaby, B.C., school teacher has received a death threat linked to the school district's controversial anti-homophobia policy.

The teacher was sent the disturbing letter featuring two crudely drawn knives with what appears to be blood dripping from them, and a demand that the policy be withdrawn, according to James Sanyshyn, the vice president of the Burnaby Teachers Association.

The letter said, "You want to destroy our children...You are our enemy... You will be shot."

Sanyshyn says the incident is frightening.

"It's a real shock for teachers...This is a cowardly act that is obviously meant to intimidate and threaten people who are in support of diversity in our community," he said.

Letter was made public during this week's trustees debate because the discussions over the anti-homophobia policy continue, even though the policy was passed months ago, said Sanyshyn.

The school district is one of more than a dozen in B.C. to adopt a formal policy promising respect and inclusion for all staff and students regardless of their sexual orientation.

It was opposed by the Burnaby Parents Voice Party, which was formed by those opposed to the gay-friendly policy, and the controversy is now dominating the school board election, Sanyshyn says.

"It's definitely a hot button issue, like Occupy Vancouver...you never know when you start a campaign," he said.

Helen Ward, a trustee candidate with the Parents Voice Party, says it's an unfortunate development.

"It is overshadowing, which is kind of unfortunate, because we need to discuss the other issues too," she said.

The Parents Voice Party is running five candidates in the school board election on Nov. 19.

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