Source: X

A Toronto area Catholic school board has voted against a motion to fly the Pride flag during “days of observance.”

A list of days that seem to grow each year.

The Dufferin-Peel Catholic school board voted six to three against the motion to amend the board’s flag policy, which stated that only Canada’s national, provincial, municipal, or papal flags could be flown at the school.

Two of the trustees were absent and did not have their votes counted.

The amendment would allow any flag to be flown during “periods of observance.”

The amendment would have allowed the Pride flag to be flown whenever there was a Pride-related holiday.

The motion was brought on by Mississauga Trustee Brea Corbet of Wards 9 and 10 and was seconded by Trustee Bruno Iannicca of Mississauga’s Ward 7.

In a video posted to X, community members celebrated the news that the motion had been shot down.

While debating the motion, Corbet brought up how she had become the victim of “targeted advocacy and aggressive campaigns” from a coordinated group of Catholics trying to get her to drop the motion which would celebrate Pride at the Catholic schools in the region.

The emails alleged that she had acted illegally and against procedure by trying to amend the board’s flag policy, which prevented non-government flags from being flown on a limited number of flag polls outside of schools in the district.

However, the in-house legal council during the board meeting determined that Corbet was procedurally correct in seeking the amendment.

“We must reflect on whether we as a Catholic school board are doing enough to combat discrimination, homophobia, intolerance, and hate. All are welcome in our Catholic schools

That does not mean only some,” Corbet said. “Jesus surrounded himself with the most marginalized in society. God loves everyone.”

For Corbet flying the Pride flag is about making sure students know the board stands against bullying.

“As Catholics, we are called to love everyone because Jesus loved us first. As system leaders, I feel an obligation to keep working to ensure our school communities are safe, accepting and welcoming for everyone,” she said.

Trustees Herman Viloria and Paula Dametto-Giovannozzi criticized Corbet’s position, saying there are other ways to make students feel safe besides flying a political flag, which they said would cause division among the Catholic school community.

Dametto-Giovannozzi said all who are “under the banner of the cross” are already included, and no other symbol is required.

“The LGBTQ+ community is not our enemy. We all fall short of God’s glory. We are not judging but we are also not promoting. We don’t want to outwardly promote because our faith doesn’t allow us to,” Dametto-Giovannozzi said. “There is only one symbol that should be promoted by a Christian, and that is the cross.”

Viloria stated that the flag is opposed to their mandate as a Catholic board which is to uphold the teachings of the Catholic faith.

“The Church teaches that marriage is a sacrament between one man and one woman and that sexual activity is reserved for this union. A pride flag, however, is often a stance or normalization of same-sex relationships and the broader acceptance of diverse sexual practices which conflict with these teachings,” he said. “By flying the pride flag a Catholic school may appear to endorse these positions, leading to confusion and potentially compromising its mission to uphold and teach Catholic values.”

Iannicca noted that Viloria had at one time flown the Pride flag at a school when he was the principal and the fact that he did contradicts his current position that it shouldn’t be flown.

But Viloria said he was bullied into flying the flag by members of the school board that he could not name.

Trustee Darryl Brian D’souza stated that he intends to put forward a motion that would require schools to fly the municipal or provincial flag on their second flag pole if they have one. 

Only one school in the district has three flag poles according to those representing the board at the hearing.