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Meeting our students where they are

Pride Month
Posted on 05/28/2021

As we prepare to begin Pride Month, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude to all of those students and staff members who have gone above and beyond to create warm, caring, safe and inclusive environments in our schools.

As a Catholic school system, it is extremely important for us to meet our students and our staff members wherever they are in their individual faith journey, to support them at every step along the way, to treat them with respect, compassion, and sensitivity, so that ultimately, they may go on to lead purposeful meaningful lives.

Our commitment remains to all our students by providing the pastoral care they need on their personal journey. As stated by His Eminence, Cardinal Thomas Collins of the Archdiocese of Toronto: “As Catholics, we are taught that we must love our neighbour and treat every individual as a child of God, accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.”

A group of Catholic Bishops in the United States recently issued a statement calling on all people of goodwill to help, support, and defend LGBT youth. Here is part of what they said:

“The Catholic Church values the God-given dignity of all human life and we take this opportunity to say to our LGBT friends, especially young people, that we stand with you and oppose any form of violence, bullying or harassment directed at you. Most of all, know that God created you, God loves you and God is on your side.”

We couldn’t agree more with that statement, and this year, we will recognize Pride Month in our schools as we have traditionally done so in years past. Throughout many of our schools, Student Councils, Social Justice Clubs, and Gay-Straight Alliance clubs will work together with school administration to lead student announcements, activities and lessons that promote safe and inclusive environments. This year, as we have done all year, we will provide opportunities for student learning on a virtual platform through the same types of activities. And our faith-based curriculum will continue to reinforce the values taught by Jesus Christ of love, mercy, acceptance, understanding and welcome for all people, especially those who feel persecuted or marginalized in any way.

Some people have asked about our position about flying the Pride flag outside of our schools, and we would like to address that. Several years ago, our Board of Trustees approved a policy which essentially dedicated the flag poles outside of our schools exclusively for the Canadian flag, but still allowed schools to fly the Pride flag or any other special purpose flag inside their schools at the discretion of the School Principal and the Director’s Office. The rationale behind the policy was fairly simple: the Canadian flag represents all Canadians, as well as the Country’s laws, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees the equality rights of all Canadians.

In conclusion, we believe that what matters most during Pride Month - and throughout the entire year - are the words we use and the concrete actions we take to support our students and staff inside our schools and throughout our communities every single day. And the greatest support we can provide for them is to consistently demonstrate to them that they are unconditionally loved.

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