A former school trustee who was instrumental in creating the Vancouver School Board’s groundbreaking anti-homophobia policy wants to return to the school board this fall.
Jane Bouey is seeking a nomination from her old party, the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE), to run on the Vancouver School Board ballot when electors go to the municipal polls in November.
The queer would-be nominee sat on the Vancouver School Board from 2002 to 2005.
Bouey says she stands on her record of playing a key role in the formation and implementation of the board’s groundbreaking LGBT policy. She also sat on the board’s subsequent Pride advisory committee, and its special education committee.
But there’s still more work to be done, she says. Issues such as the implementation of curriculum changes arising out of the Corren agreement still need to be firmly addressed.
The Corren agreement with the provincial Ministry of Education arose from a human rights complaint alleging the lack of positive representation of queers in schools amounted to systemic discrimination.
The 2006 settlement gave the queer community, and Peter and Murray Corren in particular, an unprecedented role in reviewing BC’s curriculum with an eye to adding positive images of gays and lesbians. It also led to the creation of a new pilot elective course on social justice issues.
Bouey says the next board needs to push the province for greater funding and resources to ensure the curriculum changes are implemented.
She’s concerned that the current board is being soft on what she calls “rightwing bigots” in implementing the Corren decision.
“Vancouver needs to take the lead,” she says. “There needs to be more vocal spokespeople willing to stand up for our rights and safer schools for all students.”
Further, she says, there needs to be stricter adherence to the provincial code of conduct to prevent bullying of any students. She says it’s another area where Vancouver can be on the cutting edge.
“A lot of school boards haven’t moved on that,” she says. “There needs to be some pressure there.”
Bouey became an advocate for changes in the school system after her son was assessed as having a developmental disability.
She says she saw many barriers to getting students the help they need in the system and decided she wanted to help change the situation.
She says she’s also proud to have been part of the COPE school board that stopped provincial funding cuts to inner city schools and passed a comprehensive policy addressing corporate involvement in schools.
Bouey also represented the Vancouver School Board on the provincial BC Trustees’ Association First Nations Education Committee and the City of Vancouver’s Joint Council of Childcare.
There are currently two COPE members of the school board: Al Blakey and Allan Wong.
COPE will hold its nomination meeting Sep 28.