Alberni District Secondary School will be celebrating Pride Day on Friday, June 15.
The school’s GSA (which stands for “Gender Sexuality Alliance”) is a student-led lunchtime club which offers a safe space for LGBTQ+ students in the school and in the community. Members of the GSA attended a school board meeting on Tuesday, June 12 to ask for support from the board to make Friday “Pride Day” at the school.
School trustees agreed to this request, and also agreed to fly the “Ally” flag (which features a rainbow in the shape of an “A”) at the board office on June 15.
“I think we had a lot of support from SD70,” said Grade 9 student Jay Manson.
Students have been working with school principal Rob Souther about the upcoming event, saying he encouraged them to approach the school board.
“Mr. Souther and everyone working in the office of ADSS have always been an ally and have always been supportive of our events,” said Grade 11 student Cooper Cardinal-Smith.
The GSA will be playing music in the school commons during lunch hour on June 15 and will also fly various LGBTQ+ flags on the railings. The Ally flag will be flown on the flagpole outside.
“We’re going to encourage other students to come in their rainbow attire to support the GSA as a whole,” added Cardinal-Smith.
The students agreed to keep the celebration on Friday “intentionally low-key,” they said.
“We haven’t done it before,” said Grade 11 student Tyler Johnson. “It will be easier to expand on it next year.”
“And we’re trying to normalize it,” added Grade 10 student Aaron Edwards.
ADSS teacher Anne Ostwald, who recently took over as a liaison for the GSA, says the group has plans for gradual education of LGBTQ+ issues with the rest of the student body over the next year.
“Our goal is to get to the point where you don’t need a GSA anymore,” said Johnson.
“We want to show that there’s support and that the GSA can help people,” said Cardinal-Smith. “It’s important that you don’t feel that you need to change yourself for other people.”