In anticipation of tonight’s special board meeting of the Halton Catholic District School Board, parents in favour of the motion to raise the PRIDE flag at it’s schools have mobilized support on social media. The Halton Catholic Board postponed the decision from last week’s agenda, when Trustees failed to vote to extend the meeting to permit a vote on the motion.
The board has scheduled a special meeting to be held tonight to discuss the motion and vote on it. The motion as put forward by Trustee Brenda Agnew, after initially being proposed by HCDSB student Nicole Hotchkiss, would see the PRIDE flag being raise at schools within the board during the month of June. As well as safe space posters being put up inside every classroom. The motion has divided the board, with much debate from both sides. The initial board meeting to decide the motion, saw five delegations present. Three were in favour and two were against. Along with that over 200 letters were submitted to be included in the official record. A petition was also created online by HCDSB Student Trustee Kirsten Kelly. To date it has received just under 9,000 signatures.
In response to the rescheduled board meeting, parents in support of the motion have mobilized online. One of the parents mobilizing support is Julie Cole. Julie is the co-founder of Mabels Labels and a mother of children in the board schools. When asked about her motivations for taking action this way she replied: “Honestly, I can’t actually believe this is even a conversation. The fact that there is a VOTE needing to take place to show support is mind-blowing. I have two queer children and EVERY SPACE they are in or their siblings are in MUST be supportive, inclusive and affirming. Social media is an amazing vehicle for spreading information and getting support. I’m proud of our community for committing to using the online platform to spread this important message.”
Using social media and the hashtag #flytheflag they have sought out high profile Canadians to spread their message and raise awareness. Notable Canadians such as Milton MP and former Olympian Adam Vankoeverden, Schitt’s Creek star Dan Levy, Colin Mochrie, Geri Hall, and former Maple Leafs Coach Brian Burke amongst others are those who have tweeted in support of the HCDSB flying the flag.
Ms. Cole has said that she is delighted to see the response so far, and is encouraged that it will apply pressure for the vote to go in favour of the motion. Should the motion fail, the question is what would be the consequences for the HCDSB and it’s supporters.
“For the kids – well, we know that lack of support leads to depression and increased suicide rates. If that is not enough, the Catholic School Boards will lose tax dollars. People will pull their kids from the schools and direct their tax dollars to the public board. I know I will.” said Ms. Cole.
The Halton Catholic School Board will vote on the motion in a special meeting tonight, Monday April 26th at 7:30pm.