The Pride flag will fly over Toronto Catholic schools for the month of June…
All Catholic schools in Toronto will raise the Pride flag next month for the first time ever. The Toronto Catholic District School Board voted for flying the flag at a marathon virtual meeting on Thursday May 6 with the majority of trustees on the board voting in favour. The board also voted in favour of proclaiming Pride Month every June and raising the flag at the Board office.
“We recognize that this is an important step required to demonstrate the TCDSB’s ongoing commitment to fostering inclusive environments that are safe and welcoming places for 2SLGBTQ+ students and staff,” TCDSB Chair Joe Martino and Director Brendan Browne said in a statement on Friday morning.
“By raising the rainbow flags and proclaiming Pride Month, you can take action to protect LGBTQ2S students by working to create a strong, caring and affirming community. One that cherishes a diverse school community – one that is fair-minded – one that is prepared to demonstrate love in bold, colourful action,” said Toronto City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, who spoke during the virtual board meeting.
Former Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne also spoke to the board during the virtual meeting and said it needs to send a clear signal to their students and staff that they are committed to an inclusive learning environment.
“As you all know, I am not Catholic I am however a member of the United Church of Canada so as a member of the Christian community I believe with you that the teachings of Christ are explicitly about the inclusion of everyone in our love. Equity means that in order to give someone that love and support we sometimes have to go that extra mile,” she said.
The idea to fly the flag was first proposed at a virtual committee meeting on February 2. On March 4, a parent presented in opposition to recognizing Pride in schools, which ignited a heated debate.
The vote came after the board’s recently established 2SLGBTQ+ Advisory Committee recommended proclaiming Pride Month and raising the flag at schools.
Recently, after a lengthy meeting on April 26, trustees of the Halton Catholic District School Board voted against flying Pride flags at their schools in June. The board instead voted to have staff attend “education training” and put up one single safe-space poster in each school. The decision was met with extreme disappointment.