Pride Month marked at local schools

Published Jun 01, 2023  •  Last updated 1 hour ago  •  3 minute read

Recorder and Times file photo. jpg, BT

Pride month is underway, and students throughout the region are gearing up for a month of colourful celebration.

Pride Month marked at local schools - Figure 1
Photo Brockville Recorder and Times

The local school boards announced this week students and staff will take part in activities throughout the month to celebrate Pride month, an annual observation held throughout the region in an effort to be more “inclusive and accepting,” officials said.

At the Upper Canada District School Board, students “will take part in activities throughout the month to celebrate and show support of our two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual (2SLGBTQIA) students, staff members, and their families,” they said in a release.

“Pride month is another opportunity to have discussions around what it means to be inclusive and accepting within our schools. Our goal is to have every student be able to say, yes, I feel safe, accepted, and included at school,” said Dan McRae, the board’s principal of equity and inclusion.

“In order for that to happen though, students need to feel like they are being heard and they see themselves in the day-to-day culture and life at the school, all year long.”

For the month of June, public schools will emphasize support for members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community through planned activities and age-appropriate classroom discussions, they added.

According to a press release, some of those activities include: a day where students wear rainbow-themed clothing; students in Almonte making video book reviews of 2SLGBTQIA+ themed books to create an “Almonte’s Pick” section at the community library; the board’s Student Equity and Inclusion Committee hosting a virtual event for all secondary and intermediate students; and the board had formed a list of “rainbow reads” for educators to share in the classroom.

“Public education is for all students, and we truly want all of our students and their families to feel supported and accepted,” said John McAllister, chair of the board of trustees.

“Equity and inclusion, acceptance and support are not just buzzwords for us. We have made significant strides in creating safe and accepting learning environments over the last few years. We know that we have work to do, and we are committed to doing it.”

Likewise, officials at the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario say they are “deeply committed to supporting the dignity, worth, and safety of our 2SLGBTQI+ students,” and are showing that commitment with a series of school initiatives.

As part of the board’s strategic priorities, local educators embrace a “commitment to nurturing safe and inclusive learning environments where every student and every member of our community is welcomed, valued, and respected,” they said in a statement.

“As Catholics, we believe that all people are made in the image and likeness of God,” the statement continues.

“We are called to see each other through God’s eyes – with sensitivity, compassion, and respect, and we see God in one another – wonderfully made, just as we are.”

In keeping with years past, the school board will recognize Pride month through various school initiatives, including holding awareness activities, honouring significant leaders and events, offering professional development for staff, and “prayerful support” for all of our students who identify as 2SLGBTQI+.

“As Catholic educators, we know that the development of an equitable and inclusive mindset is essential, and we work continuously to deepen our skills and look for ways to include those that may experience marginalization and to address the systems that perpetuate their challenges,” the board statement says.

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