The Ottawa Catholic School Board, like many large urban Catholic School Boards, will fly the Rainbow or Progress flag at their Board Offices, commencing this June. Trustee Spencer Warren brought forth a motion (at the May 25, 2021 Board Meeting) to ensure the flag will be flown every June going forward. The Board will install a second flagpole at each of the Board schools before June 2022. Schools will fly the Rainbow or Progress flag on the second flag pole. The Catholic Board flag and the Canadian flag will be flown at all other times of the year.
Trustee Spencer said, “I believe our collective actions tonight demonstrate our ongoing commitment to fostering student wellbeing. The flying of the Rainbow Flag tells our community our schools are inclusive environments that are safe and welcoming places for 2SLGBTQ+ students. This is something I’m very proud to support and something that will have a positive impact on our Catholic schools for generations to come.” Trustee Warren also acknowledged the work of students to spread the message of acceptance and focus on the mental health and well-being of everyone in our Catholic schools, especially during this pandemic.
Director of Education, Thomas D’Amico, said, “Pride month needs to be much more than a discussion about the flag; and in our Board, it includes prayers and practices that focus on inclusion, acceptance and human dignity.” As a Catholic community, we are guided by Catholic social teachings. We believe that everyone should be accepted and treated with respect in a safe, inclusive and caring school environment.
Trustee Wittet seconded the motion to publicly fly the Rainbow or Progress flag because, “As a Catholic School Board Trustee, I make my decisions based on what is best for all students. We must continue to seek to eliminate any form of bullying, discrimination or harassment. The flying of the Rainbow or Progress flag tells our students we will continue our work to be a more inclusive and welcoming Catholic School Board.”
According to Chair Mark Mullan, “Many Ottawa Catholic School Board schools have held recognition events inside their schools in previous years as a means of focusing on the dignity of each human being. The cross remains the key symbol of our Catholic identity in each school, and for June, the Rainbow or Progress flag will be a sign that all are welcome in our Catholic schools.”
The Rainbow Flag will be flown at the Ottawa Catholic School Board Offices for the first time this June.