by Mike Hager, Vancouver Sun, December 21, 2012
A Grade 4 teacher has been suspended for using a YouTube video of cross-dressing bikini models to spark a classroom discussion on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues.
Joe Winkler was suspended with pay this week after six parents at Brentwood Bay elementary school complained about the “sexualized nature of the behaviour of the actors” in the clip, which features men in bikinis and wigs lip-synching Bette Midler’s rendition of the Mele Kalikimaka Christmas song as they frolic on a tropical shoreline.
Saanich school district superintendent Keven Elder said he found the clip inappropriate for the class, suspended Winkler and started an investigation into his actions Wednesday.
“We will learn from this,” Elder said, noting that Grade 4 is about the time children in Saanich are first taught about LGBT issues, under a policy that came into effect in the district at the start of this school year. In June, Saanich became the 19th school board in the province to adopt an anti-homophobia policy.