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Police to be present at YCDSB meeting as trustees decide whether to raise Pride flag

Police will be present at a meeting of the York Catholic District School Board tonight where trustees are expected to make a final decision on raising the Pride flag at schools in the region in June.

The enhanced security comes after an April meeting where those opposed to raising the pride flag began shouting in the packed boardroom.

The individuals were asked to leave but remained in the building’s atrium and didn’t vacate until police arrived.

In advance of tonight’s meeting, the board is warning anyone planning to attend that “there will be increased security and the police will be present to assist if needed.”

The board says that a number of other steps are also being taken to ensure civility, including a requirement that those attending “sign in and produce government issued photo ID that confirms their provided information.”

Attendees will also be given a letter during sign-in outlining the expectations of conduct and “the consequences of not living up to them,” the board says.

“The YCDSB's Code of Conduct calls for respecting differences in people, ideas and opinions, and being courteous and polite. The public may attend board meetings but do not have the right to participate in discussion and debate, and may not address the board of trustees during a meeting,” a message posted to Twitter states. “The chair wishes to make clear that he will exercise his authority under the Education Act in response to any conduct that disrupts the board meeting. Removal from a meeting (or breach of our Code of Conduct) may result in charges under the Trespass to Property Act.”

At least one advocate for the LGBTQ+ community said after last month’s meeting that he saw students “crying, in fear” as they “heard York Catholic community members shouting angrily from the lobby.”

Pflag Canada York Region also raised concerns about what transpired, sending a leeter to the board in which it called for steps to be taken to “better protect queer delegations in the future.”

“This incident, along with the treatment of the students, parents and allies in attendance today has proven this Board lacks the decision quality and expertise to create a truly inclusive, equitable, and safe public space for these meetings,” the organization’s president Tristan Coolman told CP24 at the time.

Tonight’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.

The board says that there will be limited space in the public gallery and no overflow room. Top Stories

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