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OPINION: Open letter to the HCDSB

Dear HCDSB Board of Trustees,

We, the 2SLGBTQIA+ student community of Halton, are appalled by your decision to not fly the pride flag outside HCDSB schools this June. This isn’t a matter of opinion; this is a matter of justice and support for us queer students who have faced decades of harassment, abuse, and hate for our gender identity and sexual orientation.

The pride flag represents diversity and inclusivity for all members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and allies. By not flying the flag during the month of June, you are creating a space for homophobia, transphobia, and hate in our schools. You are telling students, staff, and families that they don’t matter.

On your website, you state that the board is “committed to creating safe, inclusive and welcoming learning environments that support student achievement and well-being.” (Human Rights and Equity, HCDSB) This recent decision however, blatantly contradicts this statement and shows a lack of care for us queer students. We are fearful for the hate this decision will enable in our schools.

While we welcome the proposal to further educate teachers on 2SLGBTQIA+ issues, it is no substitution for flying the pride flag. By flying the pride flag you demonstrate to the community that your schools are safe places where students, staff, and families are seen and supported. By not flying the flag, you are telling the community that 2SLGBTQIA+ students, staff, and families are not seen and do not matter.

As those affected by this disappointing vote, we ask why this decision was made and what the HCDSB will be doing to ensure 2SLGBTQIA+ students are supported to the full extent. Will the trustees of the Halton Catholic District School board stand up for the rights of the students they’re supposed to serve and fly the pride flag this June?

Sincerely,
2SLGBTQIA+ Students of Halton

With support from,
Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor of Burlington
Hon. Karina Gould, Member of Parliament for Burlington
Hon. Anita Anand, Member of Parliament for Oakville
Adam Van Koeverden, Member of Parliament for Milton
Pam Damoff, Member of Parliament for Oakville North-Burlington
Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo, C.M.

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