School board bans flying Pride flag weeks after passing vote in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon

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Published June 13, 2024 at 10:53 am

pride flag ban mississauga brampton caledon dufferin-peel catholic school board

A homophobic anti-abortion group has coaxed a local school board to ban Pride flags in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon.

The 6-3 vote on Tuesday reversed a short-lived policy change that would have allowed “additional flags” to be flown outside Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board schools.

A special meeting was called specifically to address a flag policy introduced at committee last week, and followed a petition in 2023 calling for the board to fly Pride flags at schools for the month of June.

A pro-life group called the Campaign Life Coalition is taking credit for “grassroots lobbying” that led to the vote and says it wants to take even more action against Pride initiatives by having them banned both inside and outside of schools.

“Parents and faithful trustees must work even harder to remove ‘Pride’ symbols from inside the classroom, and to make the cross of our Saviour and the Sacred Heart of Jesus the only symbols honored (sic) during June,” said Jack Fonseca, CLC’s Director of Political Operations in a statement.

He said the board has a “duty” to parents to be “authentically Catholic when it comes to sexual morality,” claiming the board took “the side of the Catholic Church.” Pope Francis said in a 2023 speech that the church is for everyone – “the young, old, ugly, beautiful, good and bad.”

A spokesperson for the DPCSB said Pride flags can still be displayed inside schools.

“The rainbow flag would be an example of what may continue to be displayed inside schools and facilities,” the spokesperson said.

The board’s central office has flown a Pride flag in Mississauga for years, but the new rules mean only the Canadian flag, the Ontario flag and “flags associated with the current Liturgical Season of the Catholic church” can be flown outside DPCDSB schools and facilities.

“This month reminds us that we are all created in the image and likeness of God, deserving of dignity and respect,” reads a post on the board’s Instagram account. “Let’s ensure that DPCDSB schools are safe, inclusive and welcoming for all.”

While the CLC’s website warns of a “homosexual agenda” and supports illegal conversion therapy practices, Statistics Canada shows the LGBTQ2+ community are the ones being targeted at a higher rate than their heterosexual neighbours.

There were 263 reported hate crimes targeting sexual orientation in 2019, up more than 40 per cent from a year earlier. Nearly 90 per cent of those cases specifically targeted the gay and lesbian community.

“Violent crimes accounted for more than half (53%) of hate crimes targeting sexual orientation. By comparison, just over one-quarter (27%) of hate crimes targeting religion and just over half (52%) of hate crimes targeting race or ethnicity were violent,” the StatsCan report reads.

A former student told the board last year that 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,” she said.

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