Nearly 40% of BC students were absent in some districts during the nationwide walkout against radical gender ideology in schools

The Abbotsford and Prince George public school boards had the highest absenteeism rates during the nationwide school walkout, the '1 Million March 4 Children' protest against the sexualization of kids in schools.

Nearly 40% of BC students were absent in some districts during the nationwide walkout against radical gender ideology in schools
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
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An access to information (ATIP) request has confirmed that school districts in British Columbia experienced an absentee rate as high as 38% on the same day as a nationwide protest against the sexualization of kids in schools occurred last fall.

The "1 Million March 4 Children" was a Muslim family-led protest that invited people of all backgrounds concerned with radical gender ideology and sexually explicit "learning resources" in schools to keep their kids home on September 20, 2023 and participate in a peaceful protest.

Grassroots groups in over 90 cities participated in the demonstration, 27 of which were in British Columbia, which saw individual protest attendances ranging from approximately 200 to 4000 people. A new ATIP response sent to Rebel News by a parental rights group called "Moms Against the Norm" sheds light on which districts may have been impacted by the protest the most.

Out of the 60 BC school districts, Fraser Valley's Abbotsford School District (SD34), which serves approximately 20,000 students from Kindergarten to Grade 12, sits at the top of the province's absences on that day. While it's unclear exactly how many students stayed home from school in protest versus other reasons for any of the figures in the ATIP, a total of 7,598, representing 38% of Abbotsford public school students, were not in school.

Kanwaljit Singh, a father of two children in the Abbotsford School District, tells Rebel News that his kids stayed home as part of the protest's efforts to "send a message to the government and school districts that we are against this type of indoctrination."

Singh and many others in the Abbotsford community have not stopped protesting and raising awareness about their concerns since September 20.

Last week, Rebel News reported on how mainstream media has ignored the over 100 days of protest that Singh and others have been participating in on the corner of Fraser Way and Clearbrook Road, opposing Western Canada's progressive Sexual Orientation Gender Identity program (SOGI 123) in schools.

Singh also organized a 24/7 protest camp at the same location that ran from Christmas Eve to January 6.

The next highest absentee rate during Canada's first '1 Million March 4 Children' protest occurred in central BC's Prince George School District (SD57). In a statement to the Prince George Citizen, a mother of two named Jamie Moore expressed feeling "empowered as a parent" after she and her two elementary school children attended the walkout and protested against SOGI 123, with friends by their side.

With 2617 students out of the district's approximately 7521 enrolled students, the SD57 district saw an absentee rate of around 34.79%.

In third place, Mission Public Schools (SD75), a medium-sized district, had 1544 of their approximately 6273 students not show up for school, resulting in a percentage of absent students of 24.6%.

Similar to Abbotsford, pushback against the sexualization of kids in schools has not stopped in Mission. In November, the district attempted to host a SOGI 123 Mythbusters event where speakers told attendees they couldn't opt their children out of SOGI-123, which labels sexually explicit books as learning resources, because the controversial program is considered a human right for LGBTQ+ students.

Rebel News was on the scene when chaos unfolded after the superintendent declined to allow attendees to ask questions verbally at the end of the presentation. Surrey School District (SD36) had 18,464 of the approximate 82,000 students absent on the day of the protest, bringing its rate to 22.52%.

The city had the largest attendance in BC at their '1 Million March 4 Children' demonstration.

Amrit Birring, the leader of The Freedom Party of BC, organized that location's demonstration and has since backed a RecallRachna.ca campaign that is recruiting canvassers to voluntarily go door to door to gain signatures. The goal is to use the province's Recall Legislation to have BC’s Minister of Education, Rachna Singh’s Surrey-Green Timbers seat in the Member of the Legislative Assembly, revoked.

Cowichan Valley School District (SD79) and Chilliwack School District (SD33) both had approximately 21% absentee rates. Chilliwack’s school board is at the heart of the battle against SOGI programs, as district board members have had many disputes related to it since shortly after the program was first introduced back in 2017.

The board’s Chair, Willow Reichelt, and Vice Chair, Carin Bondar, are staunch supporters of the controversial program, leaving some members of the community they serve feeling ostracized and vilified for bringing forth relevant concerns.

In a Facebook video, Bondar, who has garnered millions of views for her sexually explicit content on YouTube, told viewers that those who protest the sexualization of children are actually "hellbent on sexualizing children" and are "obsessed with genitals and sex."

In February of last year, Chair Reichelt, who describes herself as a self-proclaimed activist and diversity, equity, and inclusion advocate, made headlines for arbitrarily censoring parents and grandparents while they tried to ask questions during a school board meeting. In October, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms announced that it is representing a former SD33 employee and grandmother of students in Chilliwack in a lawsuit against the district for being censored during a board meeting when she tried to pose a question regarding a proposal that was made to promote the Pride flag in the district’s school.

Many cities had an average school absentee rate of around 10% – 12%. However, much like how the higher absentee rates don't mean all of those not at school protested, the lower rates don't necessarily mean that those districts didn't have students join the walkout.

In a statement to Rebel News, a mother who prefers to remain anonymous and has daughters in Coquitlam School District 43, which only had a 10% absentee rate, says she kept her children home because she's "had enough of gender ideology and the overly sexualized materials being taught to our children as young as five years old."

"I have a lot of concerns about SOGI 123 and deeply believe it should not be in our children's school. We should let our kids become who they're meant to be organically, not push them to be something/someone else," she added.

Emily Duggan, the founder of Moms Against the Norm, says the group has filed another ATIP to get absentee numbers from non-protest dates to make a better comparison and better gauge the protest's impact.

Duggan considers the 96,000-student absentee count across the province for September 20th a success and says it shows that the efforts of all the groups that came together for the protest to make a statement worked. "It shows that a significant number of families across BC are unhappy with SOGI 123."

Rebel News sent out a media inquiry to the school districts mentioned in this article with the highest absentee rates. In yet another example of how tarnished transparent dialogue has become between many districts and the community, all districts failed to disclose the figures for public consideration.

If you're tired of the wedge SOGI-123 has been driving between concerned parents and their ability to advocate for an indoctrination-free education, head to our website StopClassroomGrooming.com to sign and share our petition that demands Ministers of Education hear your concerns.

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  • By Tamara Ugolini

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