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Elected Official Testimonials

The Vancouver School Board is very grateful for its partnership with Out in Schools in working to promote safe, inclusive and welcoming schools for all students, staff and their families. OIS presentations and workshops are an excellent way of engaging youth in thoughtful and enlightening discussions and the impact of homophobia and educating them about ways to combat it. OIS is helping us carry out our commitment to provide safe learning and working environments, free from harassment and discrimination, while also promoting pro-active strategies and guidelines to ensure that lesbian, gay, transgender, transsexual, two-spirit, bisexual and questioning students, employees and families are welcomed and included in all aspects of education and school life and treated with respect and dignity. Thank you OIS for your outstanding work!

Patti Bacchus
Chairperson, Vancouver Board of Education
School District No. 39


Out in Schools is a great program. As founder of Carousel Theatre Company and School, I am acutely aware of the need for and unquestioned value of this innovative program. Out in Schools gives tools and hope to those who feel hopeless and adds strength to those who are coping in spite of many challenges. The LGBTQ youth community is empowered by this project as is the wider community informed by the clear information brought forward. As one student said to me after hearing a presentation "now I am not mad at my brother any more". This program helps young people open up to their families and accept their families. Any bullying is unacceptable and this program brings that maxim home with intelligence and uncensored discussion. Out in Schools should be in every school as they change a culture of confusion and pain. I support this creative and positive life-changing work.

Elizabeth Ball
Vancouver City Councillor


One of the key goals of the Vancouver School Board is to make our schools safer, more welcoming and inclusive places for all students to learn. Students cannot learn when they don't feel safe. Study after study, year after year we discover again, that LGBTQ students, without supports, are at a far greater risk of committing suicide, of being physically harassed, of dropping out of school and becoming street involved. Students have told me how Out in Schools was their lifeline. As a trustee I have seen the positive impact Out in Schools can have on the learning environment in an entire school. The OIS facilators are engaging and professional and the Teacher's Learning Resource guide is a valuable resource. OIS has made a real positive difference in our District, in our schools, and in students' lives.

Jane Bouey
Former Trustee and Vice Chair, Vancouver School Board of Education
School District No. 39 


While gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Canadians have achieved equality under the law, societal discrimination and hate continue. The suicide rate among GLBT youth is staggering; research tells us that GLBT students are four times more likely to commit suicide than straight students. There is strong evidence that the bullying of GLBT youth in schools is a great part of the problem. Clearly, we have more work to do. Out in Schools provides much-needed opportunities for students to discuss bullying and homophobia in the classroom. I have been proud to support this worthwhile program since it began in 2004; Out in Schools facilitators are working hard to end bullying and homophobia in BC high schools.

Hon. Hedy Fry
Member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre


Out in Schools, through film and discussions, provides a very important tool for our schools in addressing bullying, discrimination and homophobia. I would recommend principals, teachers and parent groups to take advantage of the "Out in Schools" program. The available short films are age-appropriate and reflects our varied and diverse school district. The teacher's guide provides support for educators in teaching the subject and directing them to additional appropriate resources.

The well produced short films are perfect for triggering discussions around social issues such as bullying; an LGBTQ student coming out to their family or friends; responding to stereotypes; understanding issues in different cultures; etc. The discussion, following the films presentation, allows mature discussions with adults present.

I would urge the Ministry of Education, with School Boards, the BCTF and stakeholders, to continue providing the resources, such as the ones available by "Out in Schools", of up-to-date, school aged appropriate learning/discussion resources in multiple languages.

Allan Wong
Trustee, Vancouver Board of Education
School District No. 39


Out in Schools saves lives. Queer youth are bullied and experience prejudice on a daily basis in their homes, in their communities and in their schools. As an out City Councillor, I support Out in Schools as a way to stop this discrimination. I wish it had been there when I was a student.

Ellen Woodsworth
Former Vancouver City Councillor