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Educator Testimonials

Out in Schools sheds light on emotional and interpersonal issues related to bullying and homophobia within a social and cultural context. The stories appealed to the interests of the audience, stimulating thought, reflection and the sharing of ideas.

Chris Cordoni
Counsellor, Point Grey Secondary, Vancouver BC

I am writing to offer my full support behind the outstanding work put on by Out in Schools. As a secondary school film teacher, I am constantly encouraging my film students to express their creativity through the visual arts, yet to always keep in mind that the material they produce must be appropriate for wider audiences. As I watched the films for the Out in Schools: Challenge Homophobia Now! Youth PSA Competition at the Roundhouse Theatre in August, I was thrilled to see that other teachers in the Lower Mainland have a similar mentality. Every film I watched, from the elementary level through to grade 12, demonstrated to me that students had put a lot of thought into how to best spread the message of equality through film. Some films were light-hearted and comedic while others had a more serious tone, yet all the films succeeded in their goal to combat homophobia, which is all too rampant in our schools.

Not only was I impressed with the sophistication of the films, but I also found the Out in Schools "Fierce and Fabulous" event in general to be positive, celebratory, and age-appropriate. From the artwork in the gallery, to the educational materials set up in booths, to the MCs who hosted the evening, not once did I feel that any element of the evening was inappropriate for youth.

Out in Schools promotes equality and multiculturalism and this is in fact one of the mandates of the Vancouver School District. The annual video contest is an excellent way of getting students throughout the district to embrace these social justice issues and stand up against discrimination. I hope that this educational event continues to flourish, as it is perhaps the best anti-homophobia program I have come across during my career in the Vancouver School District.

I am grateful that my students, and many others, have the opportunity to express their creativity in such a positive way.

Jonathan Friedrichs
Film teacher & producer of Killarney Films
Killarney Secondary School

Mr. Johnstone presented his information in a kind, caring, professional manner. He engaged the students by asking them many questions. He also had two films to show which helped raise more awareness regarding homophobia and the isolation that persons in the queer community often experience.

Pat Hayward,
Planning 10 Teacher,
Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School

As a member of the OiS Advisory Group, I am well aware of the significance a program of this nature can have on the safety and inclusion of a segment of our community which often feels marginalized. There truly is a need for mandatory curriculum in BC which addresses Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered issues. GLBT individuals deserve to study and learn in schools where they feel safe and valued.

Doug Matear,
Vice Principal,
Eric Hamber Secondary School

Between 2007-2011, Out in Schools has come to SIGMA to educate both our Planning 10 classes as well as our Family Studies 11/ 12 class on Homophobia.

These sessions have been professional, educational and perspective changing for many of my students. The videos shown in these sessions never have been inappropriate- they have been emotionally charged, youth made films, which challenge the ideas behind homophobia. They seek to show the hurt and pain that occurs for so many of the LGBT community. Many of my students have benefited from these presentations as it either shows them a different side of the story, or shows them that they are not alone. Many youth are struggling with their sexuality at the age of 16-19 and having a presentation such as Out in Schools can give them the courage and strength to talk about these issues with their counselors, parents and teachers.

I plan on inviting them to our school again as I believe they are a great benefit to our students and to our school communities.

Jenny Simpson
Teacher, New Westminster BC