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Yorkton school division debunks rumours around ‘furries’, washrooms, sex education

Yorkton’s school division has sent out a leaflet busting myths about the division’s policies regarding the protection of student rights.

The leaflet said there are rumours circulating that the division allows students to identify as ‘furries’ and use litterboxes in schools, using gender-neutral washrooms to promote particular ideologies, allows explicit materials in classrooms and libraries and promotes homosexuality or diverse gender identities.

Myth vs. Reality leaflet from Good Spirit School Division.

Good Spirit School Division

“We are hearing these misconceptions from various sources including social media platforms, community forums, and in some instances, direct communications with concerned individuals,” said Quintin Robertson, representative for Good Spirit School Division.

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According to the Saskatchewan School Boards Association, Good Spirit isn’t the only division dealing with rumours.

“We have heard from other divisions dealing with misinformation and rumours. Sharing factual information is always good practice in maintaining trust in our publicly funded education system. We will continue to support school boards in getting accurate information to students, staff, parents and families,” Jaimie Smith-Windsor, president of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association.

Robertson said that although it is the division’s duty to listen to all voices in the community, the division says all of the rumours are false.

“The claim about allowing the use of litter boxes is completely false,” read the leaflet. “Specific dress codes have been developed by schools, in consultation with their School Community Council, none of which allow for students to dress like ‘furries’”.

They said gender-neutral bathrooms are to ensure that every student and staff member feels safe and respected.

They also said that the claims that explicit material being offered is false and the school strictly follows guidelines set by the Ministry of Education when it comes to implementing age-appropriate content in classrooms.

As for the claims that the division is promoting homosexuality or diverse gender identities, the division said, “fostering an inclusive environment is not the same as ‘promoting’ a particular sexual orientation. Education about different sexual orientations is part of a broader educational program, similar to learning about different religions or countries, aimed at reducing discrimination and fostering understanding and empathy among students, staff and families.”

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It noted that teachings follow guidelines from the Ministry of Education and the provincial curriculum when it comes to sex education and sexuality.

The division said that the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Our communities appreciate our efforts in dispelling myths and fostering open communication,” Robertson said. “However, we acknowledge that there may be diverse opinions and we are open to constructive dialogue to further improve our communication and actions.”

Robertson said that the leaflet is a step in the right direction and communication needs to continue and be reciprocal.

“We encourage our community members to engage in respectful dialogue and to approach these challenging times with empathy and understanding. Together, we can build a community grounded in mutual respect and truth,” Robertson said.

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