Okanagan Skaha eliminates sex education position

School board unwilling to reverse budget-cutting decision despite receiving 320-name petition

Despite mounting criticism, the Okanagan Skaha School District will not reverse course on a budget decision to axe its sole sex-education job.

The position, currently held by Brenda Kroschinsky, will not be filled when she retires at the end of the year, so other staff will be tasked with delivering so-called family life courses.

Grade 10 student Linda Worden delivered a 320-signature petition opposing the cutback to the school board at its Monday night meeting

Worden said regular teachers aren’t equipped to deliver sex education, nor do students want to hear it from them.

“If you expect a student to open up to a teacher they see every day, then you are misguided,” she said.

Superintendent Wendy Hyer replied that it won’t be math and English teachers who deliver the programming, although the staffing arrangement hasn’t yet been formalized.

“That will be discussed with each of the administrators at the various levels around who the best person is to deliver that program,” Hyer said.

Parent Erica McDowell filed a formal appeal asking the board to revisit its May decision, but was shot down.

“At this point, bringing on another person, a new employee, I don’t think there’s an appetite to discuss that at this time,” said board chair Ginny Manning.

She repeated the board’s rationale that budget cuts had to be made somewhere to tame a $1.8 million deficit, and that Kroschinsky’s retirement provided an opportunity to do so without actually putting someone out of work.

“This is one program we knew we could continue, (albeit) looking a little differently,” Manning said, “but the students will receive a family life program.”

The sharpest criticism came in a letter from Penticton Secondary School teacher Lesley Lacroix, who wrote that she is “truly disgusted” with the cutback, which she called “short-sighted, to say the least.”

“I guess I have 15 more years of teaching, and in that time, can expect an increase in teen pregnancy and teen STIs.”

Other letters of opposition were received from the student services team at Summerland Secondary School and the Special Education Association of Okanagan Skaha.

The board was unanimous in its support of the budget, and none of the trustees offered a dissenting opinion Monday on the family life cutback.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki responded to BC Housing minster David Eby’s remarks that the city has put themselves at risk of creating a tent city Wednesday, March 3, 2020. (Western News file photo)
Penticton mayor calls out BC Housing minister for ‘irresponsible fear-mongering’

Council recently rejected BC Housing’s request to keep a winter shelter open longer than first planned

Robert Emms spotted these beauties in a waterway in downtown Penticton. (Robert Emms)
Trumpeter swans visit downtown Penticton

The beautiful birds are regulars near the shores of Okanagan Lake on Highway 97

Ecologist and writer Don Gayton wraps up the Penticton Arts Council’s March events. (Submitted)
Penticton Arts Council unveils March’s programs

Making your own comics and short stories highlight March events

After 20 years in the community, Pathways Addiction Recovery Centre has had its funding cut by Interior Health, who says they are bringing addictions services in-house now. (Facebook)
Community outraged at Interior Health’s decision to cut funding to Penticton addiction services centre

People question why Pathways addiction services would be cut during an overdose epidemic

Although B.C. has not made masks mandatory in public indoor spaces, some business owners are requiring all customers to wear them before entering their store. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
EDITORIAL: Heightened tension over face masks

Incidents of anger and conflicts over mandated masks happening too frequently

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

John Hordyk said it isn’t fair to just look at COVID-19 deaths as many survivors are experiencing long-term impacts, himself included. (Photo by Rachel Muise)
Not getting better: Revelstoke man diagnosed with post-COVID-19 syndrome

‘I hope the damage isn’t long term, but it could be permanent’

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

The restart of the program means seniors can receive affordable meals delivered five days a week Photo by Scott Suchman for The Washington Post.
Princeton Meals on Wheels one year trial will cost $92k

Program restarts, and volunteer drivers are needed

Most Read