PVV – sex worker discrimination, part infinity (special Canadian HS Edition!!)

This little bit of horror came my way via KS… Enraging and disturbing!! (but thank you for the tip, KS)

Apparently, some Vancouver BC high school students are currently targeting a local strip club for “social justice” class project.

“Target how?” you may wonder. “Target” with helpful information about investments and tax laws relevant to independent contractors working on a mostly cash basis? “Target” with a new late night child-care service that specializes in seamlessly watching kids with mothers who work non-traditional hours? “Target” with a directory of local, sex-worker friendly businesses? All of the above?!!

No.

Apparently, Vancouver has a “notorious reputation” for its strip clubs, and apparently word of “no-holds-barred… dens of iniquity” have filtered out to Vancouver suburbs. (the town of Coquitlam to be specific – no idea)

To wit, the students in Charles Best Secondary School’s 12th grade Social Justice class have decided to try to shut down one of these “black holes of female exploitation” – the Paramount Gentleman’s Club in New Westminster (which is just east of Vancouver) – as a class project. Participation is, of course, required to complete the class.

What. the. fkkk!!???

According to teacher Ken Ipe, “classes normally tackle international issues such as genocide or famine but his class of 60 students wanted to do something more local.” Specifically:

“The goal is to present it to city council in New Westminster and also the goal is to — I know it sounds radical — but for council not to renew its business licence as a stepping stone to ending sexism in culture,” said Ipe. (sic, here)

 

My head just exploded. Because of course people are allowed – encouraged!! – to organize and take action for or against or otherwise anything they see fit. But this? As a requirement in a school?!! (maybe this is a private school? affiliated with some guiding organization in some way?)

One student stated:

“Men can go in [to the club] and treat women as objects and it isn’t fair to them,” student Ryan Leppert told the News Leader.

Ryan said he doesn’t accept that women have a right to choose to be strippers, prostitutes or porn stars. [emphasis added]

“We don’t believe it is [their choice], we believe it is a desperate attempt to get money or a lot of them have been forced into it,” he said. (here)

 

Oh I get it now: Ryan doesn’t accept that women have the right to make decisions that he doesn’t agree with… so there must be something amiss – thank goodness that cleared that up!!

As far as I can tell, though they did nothing to warrant and/or invite what seems to amount to school-sponsored teenage harassment, women employees of the club are not taking this lying down.

Students set up a few blocks away Saturday [1/19/13] afternoon but news coverage of their project drew a counter-demonstration from feather-boaed club employees angry at the threat to their jobs.

“I’d like them to understand that we employ a lot of beautiful, intelligent women, who are empowered to make their own decisions about their bodies and about their path in life,” manager Ashley Pitts told CTV News.

Pitts said the students should have contacted the club before launching their petition, something Ipe admits they didn’t try to do.

“Did we try to talk directly to Paramount? No, but we did research them though,” he said.

Club owner Steven Mountford [said he] was “blindsided” by the petition.

“I believe in everyone’s freedom of speech and right to protest, first and foremost. But to date no one from the school has contacted me to open a dialogue,” said Mountford. “I find it kind of appalling if you’re in an education system and you don’t [present the other side]. It doesn’t make sense to me.

“We serve juice, we’re one block from the police station. In 10 years we’ve never had a problem here. I’m a little disturbed someone’s coming from Coquitlam to bother an establishment that has been here for 20 years.” (here)

 

I admit that I don’t know much about the secondary education system in Canada, but this whole circus is absolutely astounding. If you’re up in the area, stop by and support your local sex worker, the right to make autonomous choices, free speech, and so many other civil liberty-related things… because apparently kids and teachers these days just don’t.

See the full story from 1/21/13 here –> “B.C. high school students target strip club for ‘social justice’ class project

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