Administrators at Burnaby’s Confederation Park Elementary School are relieved that a rumoured protest by Parents’ Voice failed to materialize on Pink Shirt Day.
Word of the protest first surfaced on Facebook on Feb 29, when gay education advocate James Chamberlain posted an email attributed to Maryann Manuel, executive assistant to the mayor of Burnaby.
“For your information, I just received notice from [officer in charge of Burnaby RCMP] Dave Critchley that Parents’ Voice has organized an ‘Anti Anti-Bullying’ protest to take place at 11am this morning at Confederation Park Elementary School,” Manuel wrote.
The protest did not happen.
Instead, the school’s Pink Shirt Day events, including the students’ participation in a multi-school video performance of “Born This Way,” proceeded as planned.
A spokesperson for the Burnaby RCMP says they were advised of the protest by the Burnaby School District. But the school district’s communications manager, Jodie Wilson, says staff there were unaware of the protest.
In a Feb 27 letter to Premier Christy Clark and Education Minister George Abbott, Parents’ Voice president Heather Leung objects to Lower Mainland students’ participation in a collaborative dance to Lady Gaga’s song “Born This Way,” calling the project inappropriate.
Lady Gaga breaks “social, sexual, ethical, cultural and religious taboos,” her video simulates “group sex, masturbation, semi-nudity, many crotch shots” and her song includes “statements affirming belief in God and that God made you,” Leung writes.
“Why the teachers do not do the report cards but have so much enthusiasm to lead the students to involve in a pro-LGBTQ dance project?” Leung posted on Facebook. “Students from 20 schools in Lower Mainland have participated a music video of Lady Gag’s song ‘Born This Way’ which is planned to upload on YouTube on Feb 29. This music video is full of hypersexual, promiscuous and death ideology which is absolutely not appropriate for children to be exposed to.”
Leung could not be reached for comment, but Parents’ Voice members Charter Lau and Gordon World both denied any knowledge of an anti-anti-bullying protest.
Confederation Park principal Charmaine Bayntun says her school’s Pink Shirt Day activities went ahead without incident.
“We’ve had an absolutely lovely day. We just had our regular community gathering, which is the old term for assembly,” Bayntun told Xtra. “It was well attended by our parents, students and staff. Everybody’s dressed in pink; we’ve all got our pink T-shirts on. Our PAC provided the T-shirts for the students who participated, and it was great.”