The Halton Catholic District School Board has always been and continues to be committed to the safety and well-being of all of our students. We have and will continue to provide a number of supports to all students, including dialogue groups that focus on inclusion, to ensure that each student feels safe, respected and is free from any form of persecution in our schools. Our priority is to promote equity, inclusion and respect for the dignity of each human being in our system.
With regards to recent media reports and concerns received by the Board today, Alice Anne LeMay, Chair, Halton Catholic District School Board states, “It is unfortunate that the comments I made were taken out of context, and I apologize for the words that I used and the offense that was caused. It was not my intent to make any type of comparison between gay straight alliances and Nazi groups. Rather, I was providing a number of examples of groups that are not endorsed and permitted in Halton Catholic schools, for example, groups in favour of abortion or hate groups of any nature. I did not make a direct comparison between gay straight alliances and any of these groups, nor was that my intent.”
Catholic schools embrace a teaching philosophy and learning environment that respects and supports the distinctive and unique attributes of all people within the school board community. There are a number of supports within the Board available to ensure that all of our students feel valued, respected, safe and included. These include access to Chaplaincy Leaders, Guidance Counsellors, Teachers, Social Workers and Child and Youth Counsellors.
Social or cultural discrimination is incompatible with Catholic moral principles and addressing those issues anywhere in society is an important value that is taught in Halton Catholic schools. The Catholic Church recognizes the dignity of all persons and neither defines nor catalogues them according to their sexual orientation. For this reason the Board’s current Equity and Inclusive Education Policy specifically counsels against gay straight alliances, which necessitate students to self-identify according to sexual orientation. Rather the current policy encourages other dialogue groups that can achieve the same objective of promoting understanding, while remaining consistent with Catholic teaching.
Our Board is currently in the process of supporting the implementation of the Equity and Inclusive Education Policy and is working with all stakeholders to ensure that its implementation is supportive of all students.