york catholic school board

Police called to school board meeting near Toronto about raising Pride flag

Police were called to a Catholic school board meeting in Aurora on Tuesday evening after a discussion based on raising the Pride flag boiled over. 

The York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB) held the meeting at the Catholic Education Centre to discuss whether or not to raise the flag at York Catholic schools during Pride month in June. 

Shortly after the first speaker, security guards at the board meeting began to remove audience members who protested the raising of the flag. Over time, the commotion grew as angry parents spilled into the hallway outside the boardroom. 

TCDSB teacher and parent, Paolo De Buono, was set to speak in support of raising the flag at the meeting, however, he received an email from the board informing him that based on his "speaking notes," his delegation would not be heard. 

In a video uploaded to Twitter by De Buono, furious parents can be heard calling him a "radical teacher" and even a "pedophile." 

"I saw students crying, in fear, in the board room, as they heard York Catholic community members shouting angrily from the lobby," he wrote on Twitter. "How can such a simple but important form of recognition, a Pride flag, cause so many in York Region to become so angry?"

De Buono also uploaded his delegation speaking notes on Twitter, which reads in part, "today, I am ashamed as a York Catholic parent that York Catholic is the only Catholic board in the GTA that is not flying the Pride flag." 

"I am deeply concerned that York Catholic's obstinance in not flying the Pride flag is a red flag about how its 2SLGBTQI+ students are being treated in York Catholic schools and that 2SLGBTQI+ students do not feel safe within York Catholic schools," the notes continue. 

Despite the crowd of angry parents that confronted De Buono outside of the boardroom, dozens of people on social media flocked to the video to leave the educator supportive comments. 

Others couldn't understand why some parents were so furious about raising the flag during Pride month. 

Several commenters called on the school board to raise the flag and show their support to 2SLGBTQI+ students. 

Considering all the commotion that occurred, the board trustees did not vote on raising the flag. 

Back in March, York Regional Police were called in to a separate YCDSB meeting after it was disrupted by several parents protesting "safe space stickers," which are used to signal a positive space of acceptance for 2SLGBTQI+ students. 

Parents who were part of the protest claimed that the stickers conflicted with their Catholic faith, and disagreed with the message behind the signage. 

Lead photo by

Sophie Emeny

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