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Requests to Raise the Rainbow Flag at Schools Approved

On Tuesday, May 17, 2022 the St. Clair Catholic District School Board approved the policy and procedures for a new Flag Protocol.  The new policy reaffirms the Board’s commitment to the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion and our belief as Catholics that everyone is wonderfully made in the image and likeness of God, who created us and loves us unconditionally.

This includes public recognition of marginalized communities, including Indigenous, Black and other racialized groups of students, students with disabilities and/or special education needs, LGBTTIQQ2A students, students from low-income households and students new to Canada; or, a particular ethnic group seeking recognition due to current global events.

As set out in the policy and procedures, secondary flag poles will be installed at all schools and the Catholic Education Centre in the coming months.  The secondary flag poles will fly the Flag of Ontario, except on those occasions when flags recognizing marginalized groups will temporarily replace the provincial flag.  The National Flag of Canada will always fly on the primary flag pole.

In mid-June, the Director of Education received requests from school communities to fly the rainbow flag in recognition of the LGBTTIQQ2A community.  Per the new policy, the requests have been approved by the Request for Recognition Committee; unfortunately, the secondary flag poles have not yet been installed.  However, the approved requests will stand for the future and the Board is committed to flying the rainbow flag each June at all school communities and the Catholic Education Centre, beginning in June 2023.

Our Catholic schools are grounded in Gospel values.  The rainbow flag is not a statement about diverging from the teachings of the Catholic Church, which have not changed. Rather, the flag is a symbol that each person is valued and loved and that our schools are safe places. 

We have not reached this decision lightly.  Through much prayer, we believe we have arrived at a conclusion, which by the grace and mercy that God extends to all of His children, helps us to embrace the dignity of all persons.  By demonstrating our love and acceptance for all, we can begin to build relationships toward a true and lasting encounter with Christ and the abundant life He offers to each of us. 

Over the course of the next year we will be learning as a Catholic community how to respond pastorally to all students to support inclusive and safe spaces through professional learning opportunities.

St. Clair Catholic looks forward to recognizing other communities, who are important members of our rich and diverse school communities across the district.

Scott Johnson

Director of Education