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Vancouver high school students suspended after distributing ‘gay list’

Vancouver high school students suspended after distributing ‘gay list’

Eric Hamber students react to the 'gay list' incident

A group of high school students in Vancouver, Canada are in hot water after allegedly distributing a list of classmates deemed ‘the biggest f*gs.’

What happened?

Three seniors from Eric Hamber Secondary School have been suspended for their involvement in distributing this list of 100 classmates. The list was shared online via a private Google Doc as well as on Snapchat.

News 1130 spoke with the sister of one of the suspended students. Under the condition of anonymity, she confirmed that her brother helped create this list of 100 12th graders at their school. She recalled the list had a title like ‘The biggest F**s at Eric Hamber’. She doesn’t believe the three boys in question intended to out anybody. Rather just used ‘homophobic slurs to stigmatize both gay and straight students.’ She claimed she was deeply uncomfortable as soon as she learned of the list.

Why it matters

‘This kind of outing is not benign,’ University of British Columbia professor Elizabeth Saewyc told News 1130. Saewyc researches stigma against vulnerable youth, and believes this list could put students in harm’s way.

‘They haven’t yet disclosed their identity to others. It may be because they don’t feel safe. So having that identity disclosed publicly may put them in danger.’

Saewyc also noted that cyberbullying can be especially dangerous.

‘For someone who is already feeling bullied or rejected or seminally isolated from school having these kinds of things circulating can definitely make it worse for them,’ she said.

‘Unfortunately, there are a number of cases that have been documented where people have been outed against their will and have died, they have taken their own lives.’

For the students who may have been misidentified as gay, Saewyc believes it’s ‘hurtful’ for homosexuality to be used as an ‘insult or attack.’

School Board’s reaction

‘A list of members of the school community, containing inappropriate content, was circulated,’ the Vancouver School Board told CTV News via email.

‘As the matter is further assessed, appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken in addition to ensuring students and staff receive the supports they need.’

Public schools across Vancouver are committed to a ‘safe, inclusive, equitable and welcoming learning and working environment,’ the Board added.

Turning it to a positive

Student Sophie Klassen was named on the list. She teamed up with other students to display rainbow Pride flags in the school’s hallway following the incident.

‘Hamber is not a bullying community,’ she told CTV News. ‘I personally believe that it is one of the best schools in Vancouver.’

Klassen isn’t friends with the students who put her on the list. But she isn’t angry with them for including her name.

‘I’m sorry that this had to happen, but I really think this is a good educational experience for people. There’s a lot of positivity that can come out of it.’

Watch a news clip about the incident below:

See Also:

Students in Nova Scotia will soon be able to use ‘X’ as a gender marker in schools

School gay-straight alliances make straight kids feel safer, research says