Flying the Pride Flag in AMDSB

For the month of June, the AMDSB Board Office, all secondary schools and the majority of elementary schools will fly the Pride (rainbow) flag. This is in accordance with the AMDSB Administrative Procedure 198.

What is the Pride flag?

Rainbow flags have existed in many configurations representing many peoples and experiences throughout human history. The current Pride flag’s exact colours and dimensions have changed from the Gilbert Baker flag, which first appeared as a representation of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in 1977. The Rainbow flag is strongly connected to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, it also is a representation of social change cited as being a symbol of hope and peace.
2SLGBTQIA+ refers to Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, and the plus reflects the countless affirmative ways in which people choose to self-identify.

There are specific flags and flag variations for many identities within the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

Why is my child’s school flying the Pride flag?

The month of June is Pride month. Many of our students, staff, parents/guardians and community members identify as members of the Rainbow or 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Flying the Pride flag not only signals that our schools are safe spaces for everyone, it also aligns with our Vision Statement and Guiding Principles of inclusion and student and staff well-being and our new Equity Inclusion and Diversity Plan.

Our school district is showing our acceptance and celebration of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community during Pride month by raising the Pride flag at schools and offices across AMDSB.
We continue to raise awareness and support inclusion and acceptance of other marginalized groups in order to ensure the equity and inclusion of all our students and staff. Some examples include targeted supports for:
  • Students who identify as Indigenous (including the acknowledging the original people of these lands)
  • Addressing poverty
  • Students who need additional mental support
  • Persons with disabilities (e.g. making our schools more accessible)
This work also aligns with the AMDSB Strategic Plan (2020-2024), which states:
We will foster a sense of belonging, equity and inclusion for all, with heightened attention to vulnerable groups.

What if the flying of the Pride flag is against my personal values and beliefs?

We believe that our schools are safe spaces for everyone. Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Additionally, regardless of your personal values and beliefs, we all must follow the Ontario Human Rights Code that protects marginalized groups from discrimination and harassment. We are flying the Pride flag to demonstrate our commitment to our community that discrimination and harassment of any kind will not be tolerated in the AMDSB.

What are the rules around flying flags in Canada and AMDSB?

The Government of Canada indicates that the manner in which the Canadian flag is displayed in Canada is not governed by legislation. The rules applied by the government are not mandatory for individuals or organizations, they simply serve as guidelines. Before making the decision to fly the Pride flag, we checked in with the Government of Canada’s flag protocol lead at Heritage Canada. They confirmed that for schools who only have one mast, it is a pragmatic workaround to show our support and inclusion of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community by flying the Canadian flag first, with the Pride flag beneath.

The AMDSB now has specific procedures that all schools must follow to request permission to fly a flag (in addition to the Canadian flag) outside of the school. These procedures are outlined in AMDSB Administrative Procedure 198 – Flags which allows for the display of other flags under specific parameters. The information below explains our stance related to the flying of flags in AMDSB.
Schools within the Avon Maitland District School Board display flags with dignity and respect. This practice is aligned with and supports the principles and expectations of the Board’s policies for Safe Schools and Equity and Inclusive Education. At all times, AMDSB endeavours to uphold the protected grounds covered by the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Thank you to the Upper Grand District School Board and the Waterloo Region District School Board for their assistance in developing this content.