Written by Mark Ramzy
On April 26, 2021, HCDSB Trustees adopted a motion titled “Supporting Our Diverse School Community,” intending to provide additional support and acceptance for students and staff identifying as 2SLGBTQ+.
The decision follows a much-publicized debate that started with a student petition garnering over 20,000 signatures, and a motion moved by Burlington Trustee Brenda Agnew to fly the Pride Flag in June—among other forms of support directed towards the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
After a lengthy discussion during a special board meeting, the Board of Trustees voted against flying the flag at schools during Pride Month.
Alternatively, the school board is implementing a three-pronged approach as part of its ongoing commitment to support 2SLGBTQ+ members of the HCDSB community.
The strategy outlined in the revised motion includes mandatory staff training on “loving and accompanying” 2SLGBTQ+ students in accordance with the Catholic Social Teachings, raising awareness about Pride Month in June, and putting “safe space” poster signage throughout HCDSB schools to ensure students and staff alike feel accepted in their academic communities.
In an email sent out to parents and guardians, Director of Education Pat Daly states, “We are committed to nurturing safe, welcoming and inclusive learning environments for all of our students – regardless of their race, gender identity, gender expression, disability, sex, sexual orientation, creed, or age.”
Additionally, most, if not all schools in the HCDSB, have posted messages of support for the 2SLGBTQ+ community on their social media following the Trustees’ decision.
The motion is to be enforced immediately. A progress update will be given during the first Board of Trustees meeting in January 2022 to ensure completion.