Greater Sudbury area school boards say they are flying Pride flags during June, which is Pride Month.
This is in contrast to the York Catholic District School Board, which has garnered widespread condemnation for a decision May 29 not to fly a Pride flag.
When Sudbury.com visited the main offices for all four local school boards June 5, only Sudbury Catholic District School Board and Conseil scolaire du Grand Nord were flying the Pride flag on the flagpoles outside of their offices.
However, all four local school boards say the Pride flag will be displayed at their facilities this month.
Sudbury.com requested interviews with the directors of all four local school boards on the issue, but all four boards responded instead with written information.
Rainbow District School Board issued a brief statement, saying the Progress Pride flag is flying at its secondary schools. The Progress Pride flag is a redesign of the traditional rainbow Pride flag to include representation for communities such as people of colour and transgender people.
In response to our query as to why the board is not flying the Progress Pride flag at its Centre for Education (main board office), the board said this because there is only one flagpole at the facility.
The flagpole at the Rainbow board’s Centre for Education is flying the Canadian flag. The board said it follows the rules for flying the Canadian flag published by the Government of Canada, which says the national flag should always be flown on its own flagpole.
The Rainbow board said its secondary schools — which, as stated above, are currently flying the Progress Pride flag — have two flagpoles.
Sudbury Catholic issued a written statement on the matter from director of education Joanne Bénard.
“The Sudbury Catholic District School Board continues to fly the Progress Pride flag each June,” said the statement.
“The Progress flag aligns with our Board’s equity plan and our multi-year strategic plan which emphasizes inclusion and belonging, as well as student and staff well-being. It communicates for our children, youth, staff, families, and community members that our Board and schools are safe, welcoming places to learn and grow.”
Conseil scolaire du Grand Nord issued a press release on the issue June 1, saying it had raised the Pride flag to mark the start of Pride Month.
“At Conseil scolaire du Grand Nord, it is a time to celebrate our differences, diversity and inclusion, and to highlight the resilience and achievements of the 2SLGBTQ+ community,” the press release said.
“Open to the world, the Conseil scolaire du Grand Nord values the uniqueness and authenticity of every member of its staff and every student who attends one of its schools. At the board, every person, student and staff member is welcomed, accepted and given a place to grow.
“Over the course of the year, the Board organized gender diversity sessions for all staff members. Activities also took place in schools to raise awareness of an inclusive and supportive society for all.
“The Board is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment in which every member of the school community can be themselves and realize their full potential. At Conseil scolaire du Grand Nord, we believe in an open and inclusive world. Together we think BIG!”
Conseil scolaire catholique Nouvelon said it has purchased Progress Pride flags to display in all of its schools.
A spokesperson for the board said that while the Progress Pride flag is not flying outside of its board office, one of the flags is hanging within the building.
“In June, CSC Nouvelon will be highlighting Pride Month,” said a statement from Nouvelon. “During the month of June, we are celebrating the diversity that makes us all unique and beautiful!
“By displaying the Progress Pride flag in schools, we are spreading a message of welcome, respect and inclusiveness in our school communities.”
Heidi Ulrichsen is Sudbury.com’s associate content editor. She also covers education and the arts scene.