Every elementary school in Ontario, Canada, will be forced to fly the gay pride flag for at least one week in June, which is Pride Month in the province. Greater Essex County District School Board nearly unanimously voted on the motion last week; the only dissenting voice on the board was swiftly shut down.
"The rainbow flag, symbol of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, will fly in front of all public elementary schools for at least one week during Pride Month in June," reported Windsor Star.
Greater Essex County District School Board vice chairman Julia Burgess, who introduced the motion, said the flag will let students know that "we have their back."
"When you’re in elementary school, and you’re just coming into adolescence, it’s a very vulnerable time. You may not have a lot of peers like you. The Pride flag tells them we have their back," said Burgess at the board meeting, adding: "It’s a statement that we are going to recognize we’re a diverse, safe, welcoming board."
According to Windsor Star, the main office and all high schools within the district have been flying the gay pride flags — which includes the color purple, representing gender identity, or transgenderism — during Pride month since 2016. The new measure expands the compulsory flag-flying to also include elementary schools.
Linda Qin, the sole trustee to question the mandate explained that the flag might confuse such young children, particularly with concern to gender identity. Qin, however, was swiftly shut down.
"The kids are so young," she argued. "The flag may make them confused. I wonder if we’re misleading them about the idea of gender. We want to be careful."
The trustee noted that she has knowledge of a student being bullied by "aggressive" pro-LGBT folks.
Qin was told her time was up, according to Windsor Star, and was cut off by chairwoman Jessica Sartori.
"Who wouldn’t be proud to fly that flag?" an emotional Sartori asked, who said she flies the gay pride flag at her home.
Another trustee, Gale Simko-Hatfield, suggested the mandate be optional for schools, and mandated down the road, instead.
"It’s what the community is comfortable with," argued Simko-Hatfield. "I don’t think we’ve reached out to elementary schools to see what they think."
It’s unclear how or if schools will be punished for refusing to fly gay pride flags, but Simko-Hatfield’s idea to make the measure optional was outright dismissed by Burgess.
Others at the meeting said flying the flag at elementary schools was not enough.
"We also need to have a lot of (LGBT) education," said trustee Cathy Cooke.
A woman named Melissa Piva, whose child began identifying as "gender creative" at age five, was seemingly onboard with Cooke, too.
Piva’s son allegedly told her while they were shopping that he was a girl and needed to buy dresses so that others knew, too. "When she was in Grade 1, Piva said in a moving presentation, school staff liked to debate which bathroom her daughter should use. The next year, her teacher kept referring to her as 'he' and 'him.' Other kids said, 'She’s just a boy who likes to pretend she’s a girl,'" Windsor Star reported.
As noted by LifeSiteNews, Peel District School Board similarly voted in May to fly the gay pride flag. "The board was lobbied by Pride Employee Resource Group (PERG) and heard emotional appeals in favor of raising the flag from parents of 'gender-creative' children and homosexual parents in a May meeting packed with LGBT activists wearing pink," reported the outlet.