Students at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School will celebrate its diverse school community with Pride Day on Wednesday.
Positive pride messages on sidewalks will greet students, along with staff in shirts sporting the Thurber Pride logo. Pride treats and information will be shared, and the school’s Pride flag will fly for the week.
“Thurber has always had a very diverse population, and a strong sense of community,” said Trina Penner, one of the staff supervisors of the student-led Queer Straight Alliance.
“The reason why we have Pride Day happening is because two of our students approached our principal. It was a no-brainer. We’ve got lots of support here from our staff and administration team.”
She said Thurber was the first high school to have a Gay Straight Alliance in Alberta so the school has a long history of opposing discrimination and prejudice, and has worked to uplift, amplify and support marginalized communities.
Lindsay Thurber is one of schools with Red Deer Public Schools to celebrate Pride this month.
Hunting Hills High School’s Queer Straight Alliance has planned a pride picnic for June 2. Students will receive cupcakes and small charms. Students will be encouraged to show their pride, and QSA members, along with a few teachers, will have name tags. The school is supporting the initiative by providing rainbow cookies discounted from the cafeteria.
The school jurisdiction’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Policy includes the ability for schools to host Pride Weeks and events. That policy is currently under review to ensure it is responsive to the challenges and opportunities of the LGBTQ community within school communities.
Earlier this year, school board trustees were criticized for deciding to have a division-wide Diversity Week instead of a Pride Week.
Diversity Week has since been deferred by the school board until June 2022 due to the difficulties of planning during the pandemic, said Bruce Buruma, community relations director with Red Deer Public.
“Those events take a lot of work. There wasn’t an opportunity for people to work together. Our teachers have been so focused this year on providing continuity of learning,” Buruma said.
In honour of Pride Month, Kathleen Finnigan, superintendent at Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools, said the division reaffirms that “every person is a gift from God and is individually unique.”
“We stand in solidarity with those individuals who may be vulnerable, unwelcome, or excluded in society, including the LGBTQ2+ community. In our school division, all are welcome, all belong, and all receive outstanding Catholic education offered with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”