A Kamloops-area woman seeking a trustee seat on SD73’s board of education says she’s doing so in part because she doesn’t see her beliefs represented on the existing board.
Jennifer Rowse, 35, describes herself as a conservative Christian. She is not vaccinated against COVID-19 and she was outspoken against mandatory masking earlier in the pandemic.
Rowse is critical of the so-called “SOGI 123” guidelines in B.C.’s education curriculum, comparing them to “grooming” of children. She also believes some books should be banned from schools because they are pornographic.
“I don’t feel like that side is being portrayed,” she told Castanet Kamloops.
“I don’t feel like those people are being heard.”
Rowse lives in Tobiano with her husband and two young sons, ages six and eight, both of whom attend Dufferin elementary. The family moved to the Kamloops area from Abbotsford last summer.
Rowse, who keeps the books for her husband's business, said her age and experience as a mother of a young family would be useful on the board.
“Not to be rude, but all the current board members are like dinosaurs,” she said.
“They might have grandkids — but, hello, I have my actual kids in the school right now.”
Rowse said she’s worried about current trends in B.C. schools, including SOGI-inclusive initiatives and certain books.
She mentioned teachers handing out “puberty blockers” to students and a school book portraying “pornographic” images. When pressed, she acknowledged neither alleged incident took place locally and said she has no information to suggest such things are happening in SD73 classrooms.
“I just feel a need to protect these children and I don’t fully trust our government and SOGI 123,” Rowse said.
“I don’t think that their actual goal is to help children, and I think it’s quite possibly to hurt children.”
She took that a step further, referring to some authors and education officials as "gross people trying to warp our kids' brains."
Rowse said she expects to hear negative feedback but hopes her message will resonate with some voters. She said she knows she’s likely not speaking for the majority of parents, but she wants to represent those with similar views.
“People are either going to like me and agree with me or they’re going to hate me,” she said.
“That’s the thing. It’s democracy. If enough people believe like me — I’m sorry, are we not allowed to have a vote?”
Rowse is running for one of five Kamloops seats on SD73's nine-trustee board. As a Tobiano resident, she could have run for a rural seat but chose to seek one of the city seats because her children attend school in the city.