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Dufferin-Peel Catholic school board trustees vote against flying Pride flag

A Pride flag is raised during a ceremony at Queen's Park in Toronto on Monday, June, 23, 2014. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu) A Pride flag is raised during a ceremony at Queen's Park in Toronto on Monday, June, 23, 2014. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu)
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The Pride flag will not be flown outside Catholic schools in Peel Region and Dufferin County.

During Tuesday night’s special board meeting, a majority of trustees with the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board (DPCDSB) voted against a motion to amend the policy allowing other flags, including the rainbow flag, to be flown outside schools and DPCDSB facilities in addition to the flags of Canada, Ontario, and those associated with the liturgical season of the Catholic church.

“We have an obligation as a board to ensure our Catholic schools are welcoming safe and inclusive spaces in support of student achievement, and the academic success of all learners,” Trustee Brea Corbet, who introduced the motion, told the meeting before the vote.

“How we establish trusting relationships with our students, families and staff and engage with our school communities matters. How we support positive learning and work environments matters. Our 2SLGBTQIA+ communities need to know that they matter as well. Who you are, whoever you love, we see you, and we love you.”

Trustees who opposed the motion told the meeting that the Pride flag goes against the teachings of Jesus, the Bible and the Catholic church. Representatives of several pro-life and conservative groups spoke at the meeting, urging trustees not to support the motion.

In 2021, the DPCDSB flew the rainbow flag outside the Catholic Education Centre “as a sign of inclusion, respect and dignity.”

The board, in a statement on Wednesday, said the meeting was held to clarify their policy on which flags are allowed to be flown outside schools.

“Other flags, such as those associated with observance periods, continue to be permitted to be displayed inside schools and facilities during the particular observance period. The rainbow flag would be an example of what may continue to be displayed inside schools and facilities,” the DPCDSB said in a statement.

The board noted that 145 of its 151 schools have a single flagpole, which means that, per policy, those schools are required only to fly the Canadian flag.

The DPCDSB added that schools with two flagpoles will fly the Ontario flag on the second pole, while facilities with three flagpoles will raise a flag associated with the current Liturgical Season of the Catholic church on the third pole.

“Given that June is one of the months where there are multiple observance days, the urgency was to settle the matter as early as possible. Hence the calling of the special board meeting last evening,” DPCDSB said.

In January, the York Region Catholic District School Board was also set to debate its flag policy but deferred it back to committee.

The Toronto Catholic District School Board has been flying the Pride flag outside its schools and facilities since 2021 after trustees approved it.

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