Saskatchewan

Regina Public Schools board chair defends 'drag queen' Facebook comment

Katherine Gagne, chair of the Regina Public Schools board of trustees, said the board has to represent everyone, including parents who have expressed concern about gender or sexuality.

Motion to allow Regina Public Schools to celebrate pride however they see fit was defeated Tuesday

A motion to allow Regina Public Schools to celebrate pride may have been confusing and confusing for board trustees, board chair Katherine Gagne said on Thursday. (Emily Pasiuk/CBC)

The chair of the Regina Public Schools board of trustees took to the internet to defend the board after a LGBTQ Pride motion was voted down earlier this week.

While doing so, she seemingly expressed concerns about drag queens reading stories to children during a Regina Pride Festival event, the Drag Queen Story Hour.

"We can't have one school thinking a drag queen story time to kindergarten students is acceptable or a teacher telling a grade 3 student that they don't need to choose their gender yet is acceptable," Katherine Gagne wrote on Facebook the morning after the defeated motion.

"We need to have consistency to approach and clearly define the parents role and the educators."

Gagne took to her Facebook profile on Wednesday where she defended the board of trustees and the vote. Gagne's comments about gender and drag queens were spurred by concerned parents, she said Thursday. (Facebook)

Gagne told CBC on Thursday she had received concerned emails from parents about certain topics, such as gender and sexuality being discussed in school rather than between a child and their parents. 

"I think that as a school board we can respect  those conversations," Gagne said. "It wasn't, you know, to deny gender fluidity or anything like that."

Gagne said she thought trustees were frustrated by the process, that it was premature to bring the motion to the public before they had a chance to discuss it. 

Gagne said members of the board who voted against the motion did not have a chance to discuss the motion in advance, even though a notice of motion was introduced in June. Despite that, no discussion was had, Gagne said.

"I'm not even sure what the need for the motion was," Gagne said Thursday evening. "And I think the four trustees that voted against that was sort of what they were saying: 'we don't understand.'"

Trustee Aleana Young's motion would have allowed Regina Public Schools to celebrate gay pride month in June however they see fit. The failure of the motion does not mean schools have banned LGBTQ Pride celebrations.

Gagne said guidance and policy need to be in place for the schools to avoid a scattered, every-school-for-themselves approach. The public has asked for more clarity, Gagne emphasized.

"I think that if I'm bringing forward a motion, I should go to each of the trustees and I should say 'hey, this is my motion. This is the rationale. Do you have any questions?' That process didn't happen," Gagne said. 

Church says it did not lobby trustees

Gagne addressed whether or not there had been an email campaign organized by Christian-affiliated groups against Young's motion.

Gagne said there was no campaign by the Christian community as far as she was aware.

She said that criticism was ironic considering Young urged people on Twitter to email trustees and express support for the motion.

"How is that different? I think we need to ask ourselves that question why is one okay and one not," Gagne said.

 

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