Coast Mountain School District superintendent Janet Meyer says they are revisiting policies and procedures relating to its LGBTQ+ students following the death of Diversity Morgan, a 15-year-old Kitimat student who walked out of the Mount Elizabeth Middle School on June 1 only to be found dead by police the next day.
Diversity’s parents said the Indigenous transgender student who was transitioning from female to male had been bullied at school.
“Students that identify as LGBTQ+, are three times more likely to be discriminated against than their heterosexual counterparts. That fact within itself shows that we have to pay attention to this,” said Meyer.
The school district, as with other school districts in B.C. does have a gender orientation and gender identity (SOGI) policy, adopted in 2018, which is meant to provide a safe and inclusive space for students.
It’s this policy Meyer said the school district will now revisit.
She said the death of Diversity has created a deeper resolve for the school board to continue doing the work they started with the appreciation of culture and diversity, as well as having true inclusion within the schools.
“SOGI celebrates the fact that we are not all the same and sometimes we don’t all make the same choices, and that’s not a bad thing, in fact, it’s a strength in our community,” Meyer said.
Schools across the board are very aware of the situation and are having discussions between staff and students, Meyer continued in adding that SOGI policies are part of school curricula and it’s a teacher’s job to make sure their students aware of the diversification and differences between people.
The school district has also been collaborating with Diversity’s parents, something Meyer said has been helpful.
Diversity was described as an extremely talented poet who touched the lives of many people around him.
Mount Elizabeth lowered its flags in Diversity’s, combining that gesture with an acknowledgement of the discovery of as many as 2015 unmarked graves of students found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Residential Indian School.
“The day after Diversity passed, we made a decision as a district that we would lower our flags, and we did that prior to the federal government [lowering its flags]. The timing was very consistent with the discovery of Diversity so a lot of schools, specifically MEMSS, tied together with those issues,” said Meyer.