Pride flag should fly at Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon Catholic schools: petition
Published May 24, 2023 at 1:58 pm
Opposing sides spoke out on flying the Pride flag at all Catholic schools in Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon and Dufferin County.
The Dufferin Peel Catholic School Board has flown the Pride flag at the central office in Mississauga for the last two years but not at schools in the month of June.
Parents, students and former students are asking the board to raise the Pride Flag at all schools across the board during Pride Month and started a petition that has more than 1,000 signatures.
Rhaya Clyne, a recent graduate of Loyola Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga, asked that the Dufferin Peel Catholic Board put forward a motion to raise the pride flag at all schools.
“Many 2SLGBTQ+ students continue to be targets for bullying and harm through offensive language, and the destruction of initiatives being carried out by student-led equity clubs,” said Clyne during the board meeting on May 23.
Clyne said that as a member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, she felt unsafe at school and physically unwell listening to blatant homophobia.
“We are all made in God’s image and God makes no mistakes,” Clyne said. “June is also the month for the sacred heart of Jesus, a month about the pure love Christ has for all of us in humanity. It would be incredibly impactful to truly embody the sacred heart and show our love to a community often forgotten.”
A group of parents with children at Dufferin Peel Catholic schools also spoke in favour of flying a pride flag for the month of June.
“As parents, we are shocked and appalled by how often we hear of our children’s peers who are bullied based on their sexual orientation, the clothes they choose to wear, or the pronouns they choose to use,” they said.
Choosing to fly the Pride flag outside schools demonstrates to all, both inside and outside school walls, that we accept each other for who we are, they said.
“It is a strong outward symbol to the world that hate, bigotry, and intolerance has no space at our schools,” they said.
But 17-year-old student Timothy Dean opposed the Pride flag stating it goes against biblical teachings.
“If we keep on promoting things that go against what God stands for, what makes us different than any school board?” Dean asked. “What sets us apart from them?”
He added that people should always show love and respect to everyone regardless of who they are but that doesn’t mean a compromise in Christian beliefs.
“Just because we love our neighbour doesn’t mean we should stand for things that go against God,” Dean said. “Even though God loves everyone, it doesn’t mean he approves of everything we do.”
Dean said he has been harassed and scrutinized at school for his beliefs.
Matthew Wojciechowski, a parent with three children attending Dufferin Peel Catholic schools, also opposed raising the Pride flag.
“Some in this room will say the flag represents love and inclusion — I disagree,” Wojciechowski said. “It is naive and irresponsible as Catholic educators and as parents to not recognize the ideology this flag represents.”
Wojciechowski said the flag represents the homosexual and transgender movement and “sexual immorality.”
“It is a weapon to use to silence critics,” he said.
Student Trustee Leroy Onuoha asked why the flag couldn’t be flown at schools.
The Catholic faith means to walk with everyone no matter how they identify, said Dufferin Peel Catholic School Board Deacon Ray Frendo in answer to Onuoha’s question.
“No symbol will point us in the right direction,” Frendo said.
The board did not move a motion to fly the flag at the May 23 meeting.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising