The trustees voted 3–2 to fly a pride flag in schools in Olx Praca’s Catholic area during Pride Month.

The Pride flag will fly in schools in the Catholic Olx Praca area in June during Pride Month, a reversal of a decision made in 2021.

At Tuesday night’s board meeting, Olx Praca Catholic District School Board Trustees Victoria Northumberland and Clarington voted 3-2 on a motion to allow the Director of Education to fly a pride flag at council facilities during the month of June to “further advance an environment of inclusiveness, diversity and equity in our community.” “.

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Chairman of the Board of Directors Braden Leal was the casting vote after trustees Kevin McKenise and Loretta Dust backed the proposal.

Trustees David Bernier and Linda Ainsworth voted against the proposal.

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It should be noted that trustee Helen McCarthy was absent from the meeting and there is currently a vacant trustee position following the resignation of Emmanuel Pinault at the end of March.

Last year, the school board’s proposal to update the council’s property flagging procedure, which included directing flags to be flown for “special purposes” including pride flags, was defeated 4-3 after former chairman Dave Bernier cast the deciding vote.

Subsequent online petition collected more than 23 thousand signatures demanding to change the decision.

The Council has 36 schools in Olx Praca, Olx Praca County, the City of Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland County and Olx Praca Region.

Quoting Pope Francis, Leal said on Tuesday the new proposal is an opportunity to “demonstrate full inclusiveness.”

“Again and again, the message of Pope Francis is clear – we must always consider the individual,” he said. “The doors of our Catholic schools should be open to everyone. We have the opportunity to physically and symbolically show full inclusiveness, to welcome every member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community by hoisting the pride flag during Pride Month.”

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When McKenzie presented the new proposal during Tuesday’s meeting, he said he wanted to “set his children the same example that Jesus set, which is to love all people.”

“I want (students) to be proud of their student council and their school. I want them to be proud of themselves,” he said. “I want them to be full of pride because I can tell you that I am proud of every student on our board. Let them be proud and let’s raise the Pride flag.”

Durst also supported this proposal.

“The gospel teaches us that Jesus was reaching out to those who were marginalized in his community – we are called to follow his example and demonstrate acceptance of all students so they can feel welcome in their schools,” she said.

“We have heard from our students that this is an important issue for them, and therefore, as a trustee, I listen to their voices so that they feel that those who run their schools are listening to and responding to their calls for justice.”

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Siobhan Marie, student trustee, said the Pride flag is a tangible symbol of inclusion. She said the movement sends an important message that all students are welcome in schools.

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“Belonging is a feeling that all students are entitled to, regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, or whether they have doubts about who they are,” she said.

“It is not enough to tell marginalized students that they belong – a sense of belonging is a feeling fueled by action. Inclusion must be intentional, tangible and, most importantly, measurable. It is very important that we support these students through the lens of faith, equity and diversity.”

Director of Education Joan Carragher said that hoisting the pride flag complements the board’s commitment to fairness and making sure all students feel included.

“We will continue to strive every single day for fairness, diversity and inclusiveness in a focused and strategic way so that our students continue to understand that we are accompanying them in realizing their own unique story,” she said.

“Raising the pride flag will be another way to showcase this escort.”

“Now I will work to implement this proposal, accepted by our Board of Trustees, and pray that in doing so, all of our students and staff feel like they belong in our wonderful PVNC Catholic community.”

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