Conservative radio host Kari Simpson has filed a police complaint against Out in Schools, an anti-homophobia program, alleging there are “serious and possibly criminal activities involved with this program.”
On the website of her newly formed advocacy group Culture Guard, Simpson alleges that Out in Schools is “designed to dupe parents and introduce children into homosexist politics and pornography.”
Out in Schools is part of Out on Screen, which produces Vancouver’s 23-year-old Queer Film Festival.
Simpson told Xtra on Sept 14 that she’s asking the police to focus on two areas: obscenity laws and false pretenses and fraud.
She says police asked her to file another complaint to the vice squad, and when that goes through, she will release it.
“This is the first I’ve heard of it,” says Vancouver police spokesperson Lindsey Houghton when asked about the complaint.
Houghton says it usually takes several days for a formal complaint to work its way through the system. “Of course, as a complaint file, we wouldn’t speak to it because we wouldn’t want to taint the complaint process,” he adds.
On the Culture Guard website, Simpson narrates an almost five-minute-long video entitled “Scammed, Swooned and Corrupted: The True Agenda of OUT IN SCHOOLS.”
Out on Screen uses taxpayer dollars to recruit children in the public education system “into a sexualized culture of porn and games of debauchery,” she alleges in the video.
Out in Schools is marketed to “local schools and unsuspecting corporate sponsors as an anti-bullying program,” she continues. “This description is at best a charade. Like all good deceptions, it sounds so good.”
What Out in Schools is really designed to do, she says, is “dupe parents into believing that the school is doing good work, when in fact children are being lured into a world of sex activism.”
Simpson cites Out in Schools’ annual PSA competition, where students create their own anti-homophobia videos, as an example of moving children “from observing homosexual resources to joining in.”
What concerns her is that Out in Schools is allowed to be in schools, she says. “That raises concerns about the lack of wisdom, and/or activism of the BC Teachers Federation, and teachers within the public education system, and sex activists within all communities.”
Asked if she feels threatened by Out on Screen and Out in Schools, Simpson says if there’s any threat, it’s not by the sex activists that are behind it — it’s by the “foolishness of those who embrace it.”
She says no one bothered to question the program, or if people did question it, they were “willing to deceive parents and other teachers and other people associated with the decision making of what goes on in public education.”
In a Sept 13 press release, Out in Schools states that homophobia and bullying are serious issues in BC schools, noting that 71 percent of queer youth report that they have seriously considered suicide, while 46 percent claim to have actually attempted suicide.
“Out in Schools has been operating since 2004, and works closely with educators, parents, elected officials and school districts,” the release states. “The Out in Schools Teachers Learning Resource Guide includes student work units and meets Ministry of Education prescribed learning outcomes. The Guide is available in Vancouver high school libraries as a resource for teachers.”
“I almost really feel that there’s not much to say in terms of her allegations,” Out on Screen executive director Drew Dennis told Xtra on Sept 13.
“We have chatted with a few teachers and people that have contacted us, that have caught wind of this, and people have contacted us with their support at this point,” Dennis says.
“We’ve also reached out and let some of our funders know that they have been listed by Culture Guard, and everyone I’ve chatted with so far has been really supportive. Nobody has voiced any dire concerns,” Dennis adds.
“Out in Schools has really developed a lot of credibility over the years,” Dennis continues. “Teachers have a lot of confidence in our presentations, and we’re only showing age-appropriate films in the high schools.”
As for the program’s learning resource, which Simpson also targets on her website, Dennis says teachers have given “excellent feedback” about how helpful it is. “We hear from teachers that sometimes they don’t have the language, or sometimes they’re not always comfortable having the conversation around homosexuality with their classrooms, so it gives them some language and some tools to have those conversations.”
“I think this kind of response from organizations is exactly why a program like Out in Schools is needed,” Dennis says. “When I was growing up in high school, I only heard negative things about gay, lesbian, trans — actually I didn’t hear about trans people — and we know this is why we need to be having healthy conversations.”
According to its website, Culture Guard “works to ensure that our nation’s statutes and concepts of community values used by agencies will reflect and protect the natural family, parental rights, the sanctity of life, liberty, respect, judicial accountability and the proper rule of law as stated in the preamble to Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and all facets of citizen-driven democracy that define our civil Canadian society.”
Simpson says a number of events led her to form Culture Guard. She believes the Ministry of Children and Families is out of control with the “amount of unwarranted apprehensions that are taking place,” that education is at a “complete level of chaos,” that the courts don’t seem to know what the rule of law is really about, and that there’s a “huge movement of civil revolution across the nation.”
Simpson says community standards need to be restored; courts need to apply the law, not make it; and government should live within its means. “Government is out of control; I think most people agree.”
Simpson says Culture Guard builds on the Citizens Research Institute, an organization she founded in 1988. “Citizens was very much about equipping the people, and we certainly became an advocacy organization,” she says. “Culture Guard is not only an educational and advocacy [organization]; it’s also an activist organization.”
Simpson says she wants Culture Guard to “affect the political landscape” and give people “a political playground to play in.”
She describes her constituency as “civil-minded, common-sense Canadians — the overwhelming majority of people who get along with each other.”