Red Deer School Board Pride Week Proposal Scrapped For ‘Diversity Week’

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A proposal to implement an annual Pride Week celebration in the Red Deer Public School District has been shot down in favour of a “Diversity Week” aimed at celebrating broader diversity in the community.

On Wednesday night, school trustee Dianne Macaulay brought forward a motion to declare an annual Pride Week in the district, celebrating LGBTQ+ pride in the first week of June. The motion came following a similar move by the Edmonton Public School Board in 2018.

However, Macaulay’s Pride Week motion was defeated 2-4 and replaced with one instituting a Diversity Week in Red Deer public schools.

“After giving that motion much thought and consideration, I felt inspired to expand on the idea and declare instead, a Diversity Week,” trustee Bev Manning wrote in her counter-proposal, which passed 4-2.

“Celebrating our diverse nature, embracing our differences, holding one another up with encouragement and love, is a more inclusive way to proceed with this motion. I believe it brings ALL groups together, celebrates ALL of our uniquenesses, encourages ALL of us to become aware of diversity and will be an opportunity for ALL of us to learn and grow together.”

Board chair Nicole Buchanan, who voted against Pride Week, said that despite the motion’s failure, all trustees spoke out strongly in favour of LGBTQ+ rights during the meeting.

“During our meeting all trustees spoke with passion and conviction of their full support of our LGBTQ+ students, staff, families and the larger community,” she told HuffPost Canada. “Our schools reflect the diversity, and the community that we serve, we celebrate and are extremely proud of the increased diversity we see across Red Deer and area.”

She said that the district already has a well-regarded sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) policy that allows student-led proposals for LGBTQ+ pride events, and so trustees didn’t see a need for Macaulay’s proposal.

“Instead of it being a board motion and directive from our board, there is already a mechanism in place for them to have Pride Week,” she said.