Winnipeg school trustee suspended for making anti-2SLGBTQ+ comments
Posted June 7, 2023 3:57 pm.
Last Updated June 7, 2023 7:48 pm.
A Winnipeg school trustee has been suspended for three months, without pay, after she made anti-2SLGBTQ+ posts on social media.
On Tuesday evening, Winnipeg’s Louis Riel School Division officials unanimously voted to suspend Francine Champagne, for breaking an internal code of conduct regarding respect for human diversity and the use of social media.
“We were acutely aware that we were sending a message to our greater community, and our students, teachers, staff and administrators and we want them to know that this is not what the board believes, this is not who we are,” explained Sandy Nemeth, Chair of Louis Riel School Division Board of Trustees.
On social media, Champagne posted what advocates say are conspiracy theories that mock the transgender community.
CityNews reached out to Champagne for comment, but an automatic email reply came back saying the account is currently suspended. Nemeth says the board has committed to supporting Champagne in her return to the board by all members engaging in professional conversation and education moving forward.
“I’m optimistic that she will embrace that opportunity as a way to learn and understand and we will undertake this as a board,” said Nemeth.
- Thousands march in Winnipeg Pride parade: ‘We have a voice. We want to be heard’
- Brandon school board votes against 2SLGBTQ+ book ban
- Group calls for removal of 2SLGBTQ+ books in Brandon schools
Ashley Smith, the director of advocacy at Winnipeg’s Rainbow Resource Centre applauds the LRSD trustees for suspending Champagne but says more needs to be done.
“I would call on the school board to censure this school board trustee because this person is going to just come back and vote on important issues that affect all children at the school,” Smith said.
School trustees are elected by members of the public. Robert Mizzi says it’s important that constituents really look seriously at the candidates for any type of public office.
“They need to have some awareness to how these inflammatory comments, and these actions are going against, and they are sending the school boards back,” said Mizzi, Canada Research Chair in Queer, Community, and Diversity Education and Professor at the University of Manitoba.
Elliot Long from Trans Manitoba says sharing false rhetoric and spreading rumours online about trans people causes harm and promotes hate.
“Misinformation, which maybe doesn’t sound a lot, but is very dangerous. Most of the hate comes from misinformation,” said Long.
Last weekend, Winnipeg saw its biggest Pride parade ever, involving over 10,000 people. Smith says moving forward, more education is needed and is sharing a simple message.
“Call it out and stand against hate.”