Letter to HCDSB Trustees

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Dear HCDSB Trustees,

We have a motion of our own. We will not be accepting amendments.
PS - You should have listened to Sarah & Dan Levy's Mom.

  • Whereas, Oakville HCDSB student Nic Hotchkiss bravely presented a delegation to the board requesting a Pride flag be flown at their high school as a symbol of support for LGBTQ2S+ staff and students.
  • Whereas., Trustee Brenda Agnew subsequently filed a motion to fly the Pride flag at all HCDSB schools and put up Safe Space posters in all HCDSB classrooms. 
  • Whereas, three more delegations were made supporting this motion, along with hundreds of letters and emails that were sent from staff, parents, LGBTQ2S+ students and allies telling their firsthand stories about needing more support, tolerance and safe spaces in their school communities.
  • Whereas, Trustees that were obviously against this motion passing continuously used stall tactics throughout both meetings and voted against extending the first meeting, cutting the discussion short and the vote on the motion was not made until a special follow-up meeting was called. 
  • Whereas, the outpour from the HCDSB community (and beyond) in support of the motion was staggering. Student Trustee Kirsten Kelly started a petition that received over 16,000 signatures. One of our tweets supporting their petition has over 2 million views after being retweeted by Canadian celebrities, including proud "rainbow parents" Colin Mochrie, Deborah Devine and Eugene Levy, as well as Dan Levy and Sarah Levy. 
  • Whereas, a Facebook Frame with #FlyTheFlag was created by a HCDSB student and member of our youth advisory committee, was added to over 1000 profile pictures in under a week. 
  • Whereas, many opposing this motion used sexist, homophobic and transphobic hate speech, while continuously gaslighting and using other bullying tactics, while ignoring the pleas from children in the board that they need this small step forward, further proving that HCDSB schools are not a safe space for the LGBTQ2S+ community
  • Whereas, Student Trustee Kelly bravely pleaded with Trustees at the April 26th, 2021 meeting, reminding them that their community needs these Pride flags visible to students and Safe Space poster in every classroom, without compromise. 
  • Whereas, Trustees have failed to pass a motion that would cause no harm to anyone, but could cause so much harm to a marginalized and vulnerable community. 
  • Whereas, one poster per school and staff training is not an acceptable amendment to this important motion. 
  • Whereas, our members include HCDSB parents of LGBTQ2S+ children and HCDSB staff who work and live in a country that recognizes marriage equality and human rights laws, but many feel they must remain closeted at school/work. 
  • Whereas, The Free Mom Hugs movement began because support of the LGBTQ2S+ community was desperately needed after their church turned their backs on them. 
  • Whereas, volunteer "huggers" have held LGBTQ2S+ strangers in their arms while they sobbed, asked to be hugged for "just one more minute" and told us it had been years since they received a parental hug because they were disowned after coming out. 
  • Whereas, many students and staff members do not receive support at home and we are worried for their mental health and well -being now that the school board has sent a clear message that they are not fully supported at school either. 
  • Whereas, we believe occurrences of bullying LGBTQ2S+ students will increase in schools now that this motion has been amended. 

We propose the following...

  • Free Mom Hugs Southern Ontario will provide a safe space for HCDSB staff and students to voice their opinions on mobilizing efforts to support them (see contact form below).
  • Parents are encouraged to discuss with their children the importance of celebrating Pride Month to both ensure they KNOW they are loved and accepted as they are and to discourage harassment and bullying of their LGBTQ2S+ peers.
  • All allies are encouraged to contact mayors of Oakville, Burlington, Georgetown, Milton and Acton to request a rainbow crosswalk be painted at the intersection closest to their child's school. Parents are encouraged to fundraise to offset the costs of materials and labour, making this request easier to approve at City Hall.
  • All HCDSB staff and students (with their parent's permission, if safe to do so) are encouraged to dress in rainbow clothing and/or  Pride/rainbow accessories on June 1, 2021. 
  • If Ontario schools are still online on June 1st, we encourage all staff and students to change their online profile picture on Microsoft Teams that promotes inclusion and solidarity.
  • If schools are in person on June 1st (stay-at-home orders have been lifted), we encourage all parents and guardians to join the parent-initiated peaceful protests being organized outside of their child's school. We suggest bringing Pride flags and child-appropriate signage for 1/2 hour before school arrival time and 1/2 after dismissal. Reminder to be diligent about public safety - only doing so if legally allowed with current Covid-19 bylaws, while maintaining physical distancing from people not in their household, wearing face masks and not blocking/interfering with the safe arrival and dismissal of students by foot, bike, car or bus. As it is impossible for FMHSO organizers to have representation at every school protest to ensure rules are being followed,, you are reminded to organize a protest safely with parents in your school community. These are suggestions; not a FMHSO planned event. 
  • To withdraw your child from a publicly-funded school board that inherently does not believe in Canada's basic human rights and freedoms or in the very least, campaign and vote for trustees that have ALL children's best interests in mind. Watch this page for more info. We have been taking notes. 
  • To adjust your taxes to support public schools vs Catholic. 
  • To join the movement #NoFlagNoFunding by signing and sharing this petition.
  • To bookmark and return to this space for more strategizing and support after we have read the feedback given in the form below.. 
  • To consider purchasing one of our Pride lawn signs before May 12th to show the LGBTQ2S+ community that they are loved,  accepted and celebrated as they are. All fundraising contributes to our programs and events that support the LGBTQ2S+ community..