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York Catholic School Board Rejects Pride Flag, Sparks Controversy

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The Nation Post

The York Catholic District School Board has voted against flying the Pride flag at its Catholic Education Centre in June. The board meeting resulted in a six-to-four vote against the motion. The decision followed months of debates and clashes between advocates and critics, with police being called to several board meetings. Demonstrators expressed their disappointment after the vote and were escorted out of the room. The trustees who voted against the motion cited their commitment to religious teachings as the reason for their decision.

Before the vote, the board discussed a report from the YCDSB Gender, Sexuality and Catholic Education Committee. The committee recommended flying the Pride flag at the centre, releasing a supportive statement for the LGBTQ community, establishing a support group for LGBTQ students, and encouraging students to report instances of bullying. Trustee Elizabeth Crowe, who supported the motion, emphasized the importance of ensuring the safety and well-being of LGBTQ students, despite the board’s commitment to Catholic teachings.

Advocates expressed concern for LGBTQ students and criticized the board’s decision. Paolo De Buono, a Catholic teacher and parent, called on the Ontario Ministry of Education to intervene, stating that LGBTQ students are at risk due to the board’s decision. Pflag, an LGBTQ advocacy group, released a statement criticizing the school board and expressing concerns about the impact on the mental and physical health of LGBTQ individuals. They accused the trustees of using their faith to cover discrimination and lack of empathy.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce reiterated the government’s support for the LGBTQ community and emphasized the need for all students to feel safe and supported in publicly funded schools.

The Pride flag that would have been flown in York Region is the Progress Pride flag. This flag includes the original rainbow colours along with additional stripes representing Black, Indigenous, and people of colour communities and transgender communities.

Overall, the decision by the York Catholic District School Board not to fly the Pride flag at its Catholic Education Centre in June has sparked criticism from advocates who argue that it fails to support LGBTQ students and creates an unsafe environment. The board’s decision has been seen as a reflection of its commitment to religious teachings, while critics argue that it demonstrates a lack of empathy and care for marginalized communities.

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