LGBT in the schools
By Jenn Watt
Published Oct. 18, 2016
Educational institutions play a crucial role in promoting acceptance and thoughtfulness over ignorance and hatred in our communities. Following a second incident of homophobic graffiti on the storefront of Prettypaws in Haliburton, store owner Christopher O’Mara suggested schools can do a lot to mitigate intolerance.
Katherine MacIver, superintendent of learning responsible for safe and accepting schools, says when issues of homophobia arise in the board’s schools, their first defence is education.
“People act sometimes out of a position of not knowing, so we work with our schools and our students around the educational piece,” MacIver told the Echo.
The board uses restorative practices – similar to those used in the justice system – which reward positive behaviour and address and seek reparation for negative behaviour.
Schools have a multi-pronged approach to increasing acceptance including having a Gay Straight Alliance at all high schools, Positive Space signage and resources that normalize a diversity of relationships.
“You’ll find books in our kindergarten classrooms that talk about different kinds of families, you’ll find books in our secondary classrooms with protagonists that are LGBT,” she said.
The most recent initiative by the board is transgendered guidelines, which strive to create welcoming environments for transgendered students and families.
Point in Time has also been active in supporting LGBT youth and organizing activities to promote acceptance in the community. One of those activities is a screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at Pinestone on Friday, Oct. 28 organized by SPARC with funds going to Point in Time.
Reward for details on Prettypaws graffiti
On June 21 and again on Sept. 28 mischief occurred on Highland Street in Haliburton. Unknown suspects spray painted derogatory wordings on a local business.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Haliburton Highlands OPP or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222- TIPS (8477).
Anonymous information can also be reported online at www.KHCS.ca
You may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000 for tips that lead to an arrest.
You will not have to reveal your identity and you will not have to attend court as a result of the information you provide.