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SCHOOL DISTRICT 46 REAFFIRMS INCLUSION AND EQUITY FOR ALL WITH RAISING OF PRIDE FLAG

Chatelech Grade 9 students and the Child and Youth Worker raising their rainbow flag.

For the month of June, School District 46 will fly the Pride flag.

What is the Pride flag?

Rainbow flags have existed in many configurations representing many peoples and experiences throughout human history.

The current Pride flag’s exact colours and dimensions have changed from the Gilbert Baker flag, which first appeared as a representation of the LGBT2SQ+ community in 1977. The Rainbow flag is strongly connected to the LGBT2SQ+ community, it also is a representation of social change cited as being a symbol of hope and peace. We have three Rainbow crosswalks in our School District which have been initiated by students and staff at their respective schools. We are also proud to be part of a community where our Town of Gibsons and District of Sechelt both give Pride Month Proclamations and who also have Rainbow crosswalks.

LGBT2SQ+ is used to refer to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, two-spirited, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, pansexual, non-binary et al.

There are specific flags and flag variations for many identities within the LGBT2SQ+ community.

The six colours of the traditional flag represent the following:

Red = Life

Orange = Healing

Yellow = Sunlight

Green = Nature

Blue = Harmony

Violet = Spirit

Why does SD46 believe it is important to fly the Pride flag?

The month of June is Pride month. Many of our students, staff, parents/guardians and community members identify as members of the Rainbow or LGBT2SQ+ community. Flying the Pride flag not only signals that our schools are safe spaces for everyone, it also aligns with our Strategic Plan which affirms our values as a district. Pride Month also gives us an opportunity to visibly show support as outlined in our Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Regulation which embraces and upholds the BC Ministry of Education SOGI initiatives and is in alignment with all policies and procedures as referenced on the BC Ministry of Education SOGI 123 website.

The catalyst for early Pride celebrations was the need for equal rights to be extended to all LGBT2SQ+ people. This call for a world without discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is the reason we continue to celebrate Pride today. Our school district is showing our acceptance and celebration of the LGBT2SQ+ community during Pride month by raising the Pride flag at schools across SD46.

We continue to raise awareness and support inclusion and acceptance of other marginalized groups in other ways.

How are schools discussing the Pride flag and LGBT2SQ+ issues?

Each of our schools is committed to providing its students with a positive school climate. We know that when students feel safe and supported in a healthy school climate, they have greater success. Through the SD46 Strategic Plan, as well as the BC Ministry of Education SOGI 123 and Expect Respect & a Safe Education (ERASE) website we are committed to creating the healthy, positive spaces in schools that our students need.

Many of our high schools and elementary schools have Gay Straight or Gender Sexuality Alliances (GSAs). These clubs are safe spaces for our students, staff, and allies of the Rainbow community to come together and discuss issues they may be facing and topics that matter to them. Our GSAs are places where our students feel comfortable being themselves, and can take action on supporting equity for all people.

In our elementary and secondary schools, through the Physical Health Education curriculum, students learn to understand and respect people and relationships that are the same and different from each other. This includes the idea that not every family looks the same. For example, among the multitude of possible family configurations, some families have a mom and a dad, some just have one parent, and some families have two moms, two dads, or other blends of parents/guardians.

What supports are available to staff and students in schools regarding LGBT2SQ+ issues?

In addition to our GSAs, all of our schools in both Elementary and Secondary have SOGI Lead Teachers who are a contact and support for their schools, and we also have a District SOGI Lead. Each school also has a school counsellor(s) who have each completed training in diversity and/or LGBT2SQ+ issues. Your child’s SOGI Lead Teacher and/or counsellor can help provide resource suggestions for supporting your child’s questions and understanding around LGBT2SQ+ issues.

SD46 also has an active SOGI District Committee comprised of BCTF, CUPE, parents, students, principals, and district staff who facilitate and lead SOGI initiatives in the district. SD46 initiatives include the creation of SOGI resource kits for each school, regularly hosting SOGI themed professional development opportunities for staff, as well as SOGI speakers and events for students.

Who can we contact with questions?

If you have questions, please contact your school Principal.

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