Regina Public School Board vote against Pride motion, to further discuss

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Regina Public School Board vote against Pride motion, to further discuss
WATCH: Emotions ran high at a Regina Public Schools' Board meeting on Tuesday, as officials voted against a motion recognizing and supporting the celebration of Pride. Katelyn Wilson explains – Oct 16, 2019

Regina Public Schools has voted against a motion that would allow schools in the district to decide how they would celebrate Pride.

The decision came on Tuesday night at their board meeting.

It’s a decision that left many outraged, choosing to walk out as emotional outbursts rang throughout the room.

“There was some hope that the Regina Public School Board would put some teeth into ensuring LGBTQ kids rights were maintained in their schools and that just didn’t happen,” said Jacq Brasseur, UR Pride Centre executive director.

School board trustee Aleana Young, brought forth the motion in June and expressed her feelings following the decision saying, “as a board, we vote on motions, so that is the will of the board but personally, as an individual, obviously I am disappointed and heartbroken.”

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Each school in the division already had the choice to participate in the celebration and the board stressed that it won’t change.

Following the meeting, the director of Regina Public Schools sent out the following message to all staff:

On Tuesday evening, the Board of Education voted against a motion “to recognize and support the celebration of Pride and fly the rainbow flag at school facilities each June”. There may be some confusion as to what this means for our schools and students. 

This vote does NOT mean that Regina Public Schools, the division, or individual schools must stop celebrating pride. It does NOT mean any change in how we respect all students and staff, and how all belong at Regina Public Schools.

One result of this vote is that the Board will now look to its subcommittees, and administration, to create some clarity and some more definite direction about how events are celebrated by the division and by schools.

Trustees said they were confused about the motion and what it would mean for schools moving forward. The members who voted against the motion expressed that they want more time to discuss a set plan and a clearer guideline before moving forward.

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“GSA’s don’t end, support at the school level doesn’t end, Pride activities do not end that was not even contemplated as we went about the vote last night,” said Katherine Gagne, Regina Public Schools’ Board chairperson.

“I think the board really sincerely wanted to give complete latitude to have good discussion and see a consultation process rolled out and not to just be knee jerk in that moment of intense pressure.”

In response, Connaught Community School took to Facebook saying it will continue to have “Pride Day” in June, along with flying the rainbow flag all month.

Board trustee Adam Hicks, who voted in favour of the motion, also took to Facebook apologizing for the confusion, hoping to things clear up.

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But some are questioning the message it sends to LGBTQ2S youth.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty and a lot of fear,” Brasseur said. “If the motion had passed, then it would have closed that conversation and affirmed Regina Public Schools’ support of LGBTQ communities.”

The issue is now up for further discussion and consultation, although no timeline has been set.

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