The Ottawa Sun – August 9, 2011 Board floats gay support By Larissa Cahute
The public school board will march in its first Capital Pride this year after a trustee suggested it was time to take support for gay and lesbian students to the next level. The initiative was spearheaded by gay trustee Donna Blackburn, who also sits on the diversity and equity committee. “We’ve been supporting our gay, lesbian and transgendered students for years,” said Blackburn. So she thought this was the next step to take.
According to board chairwoman, Jennifer McKenzie, the initiative wasn’t a full board decision. “It’s been discussed through senior management and through the diversity and equity committee and everybody’s very strongly in support,” she said. McKenzie said she’s only fielded one complaint from a staff member though, which resulted in a “long conversation” with the concerned person and board director. McKenzie encourages those uncomfortable with the involvement to talk to their principal and superintendent, to “get the concerns on record.”
Blackburn told the Sun she hasn’t received any negativity. “I haven’t heard one complaint, one e-mail, one phone call – I’ve had absolutely no push back whatsoever,” she said.
“It’s in complete compliance with school board policy and remember, it’s voluntary – nobody is compelled to go to it.” McKenzie agreed the initiative is consistent with board policy. She used the example of Pink Day: A day dedicated to combatting homophobia, which is celebrated in high schools across the region. “Our participation in the pride parade is a natural progression of what the board’s been doing,” said Blackburn. “There’s nothing controversial about it.”
The board will be participating in Capital Pride with a school bus float rolling through the parade. Blackburn hopes to have at least 100 people involved – a mix of staff, students and trustee members.
Capital Pride is held Aug. 19-28.
I just don’t get it. I guess being a parent these days means absolutely nothing…at least for the majority of our society.