Was Milton students staying home from school on Pride Day an act of hate?


Published June 9, 2023 at 12:37 pm

Is students from Milton choosing not to participate in Pride Month celebrations an act of hate?

That’s the question Halton District School Board trustees and officials debated at the most recent board meeting.

Several schools kicked off Pride Month on June 1 with events and celebrations of inclusivity. However, many families chose to keep their kids out of school that day with Milton having the highest absentee rate in the region.

Milton Trustee Donna Danielli said she’d heard from many parents of 2slbgtq+ students who felt the intentional absence was an overt act of hate.

“I’ve received a number of emails and Facebook messages and it’s all been one-sided, it’s all been parents who are concerned about the absenteeism and about the perception and preconceived notion that it will lead to a lack of inclusiveness and ultimately a lack of safety for lbgtq students,” said Danielli.

“I received no messages against raising the Pride flag. Every message from a parent who was frustrated and disheartened, as I am, by the high absenteeism in our Milton schools. The fear is our students will feel unsafe and unsupported by their fellow students.”

Milton Trustee Naveed Ahmed said he had also heard from many parents, on both sides of the issues.

“I have also received many emails from parents, from both sides. Some say absenteeism is actually a hateful display. Other parents say if someone peacefully decides just to stay at home it is not a display of hate,” said Ahmed.

“A banner or slogan is a hateful display. Deciding to keep kids at home is not. We don’t tolerate hate here. We believe in equality, inclusiveness and a safe environment for our children.”

Ahmed agreed the act of keeping kids at home shouldn’t be considered hate.

“I want to say what we saw on June 1 cannot be labelled as hate. Kids who were absent on June 1 are being questioned, treated differently in the classroom. I’m collecting that information and will bring it to the board. Many parents approach me saying teachers are calling it hate, but it is not. Let’s work with everyone and try to unite everyone. Let’s spread love. If we see open, clear signs of hate, we will address it.”

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