Gender identity education motion passes at public school board meeting
REGINA -- A Regina Public School Board committee voted unanimously in favour of a motion to support professional development for school staff regarding topics related to gender and sexual diversity, at a meeting Tuesday.
The Organizational Culture and Diversity Committee voted 7-0 in favour of the motion.
The meeting agenda said the organizational culture and diversity committee would "receive regular reports and be appraised of required training and regular support for all staff".
The report indicates that the "Regina Board of Education recognizes that every student, staff and community member has equal value as prescribed under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code.”
In 2019 the school board voted down a motion meant to “recognize and support the celebration of Pride and fly the rainbow flag at school facilities each June.
“October 2019 and that motion created a lot of hurt - and not just in our division but in our community as a whole - and I recognize that we have such a long journey to go, but I believe that the last board and this board we are ready for these conversations,” Adam Hicks, the Chairperson of the Regina Board of Education, said Tuesday.
In a 4-3 vote, trustees decided schools will reserve the right to display Pride events as they desire, but are not obligated to partake.
“Now, a new set of trustees finally has the chance to state, once and for all, that 2SLGBTQ+ young people and staff are welcome and safe in our public schools,” Kent Peterson, a Queen City For All (QCFA) spokesperson, said.
The motion followed discussions held earlier that year, when a group of parents shared concerns about “the implementation of Pride Day and the increased promotion of LGBTQ ideal within the public schools.”
The school board told CTV News it will not be doing interviews on this subject on Tuesday.
“Since 2019, the school division created a Special Committee on Diversity and, from their work, in 2020, a Diversity Steering Committee. The Diversity Steering Committee's ongoing work includes making recommendations to senior administration about ways to recognize, empower and strengthen diversity as a shared value,” Terry Lazarou, supervisor of communications for Regina Public Schools said in an email.
Lazarou also noted that public schools are working to bring in a Coordinator of Diversity in time for the 2021-22 school year, as well as provisions of Pride, Treaty 4 and Métis flags for every school.
The vote was met with anger and confusion over whether the board was voting to end gay-straight alliances and other Pride events in schools.
With files from CTV News Regina's Stefanie Davis and Alison MacKinnon.