'Appalling' video of students burning Pride flag taken from Huntsville, Ont. school under investigation
BARRIE, ONT. -- Ontario Provincial Police and the Trillium Lakes District School Board are investigating after a video was posted to social media of a group of teens removing a Progress Pride flag from a Huntsville, Ont. school and setting it on fire.
The school board said the incident that happened at Huntsville Public School was "hate-motivated vandalism."
In a statement issued Wednesday, the Trillium Lakes District School Board (TLDSB) called the six-second video an "appalling and hateful act."
The board went on to add, "This incident has caused harm in our community. An act of injustice against the two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual plus (2SLGBTQIA+) community is an act of injustice against us all."
The school said it recently reported another act of vandalism at the playground but said it isn't clear if the mischief is related, adding the flag is in the same vicinity as the playground, and both events involved fires.
Shawn Forth, with Muskoka Pride, reacted to the video stating, "We are deeply upset and shocked that a Progress Pride flag from a Huntsville elementary school was burned by some young individuals."
Meanwhile, provincial police said they believe the incident may have happened on Thursday last week.
The OPP said it had identified the students whose ages range between 14 and 16. Their identities are protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
No charges have been laid at this point. However, the OPP said it would be up to the Crown Attorney to decide what consequences could follow.
The Progress Pride Flag was created in 2018. It adds a five-coloured chevron to the original Pride Flag to represent all racialized people and transgender identity to be more inclusive and progressive.
This is the first year schools with the TLDSB raised the Progress Pride flag in celebration of Pride month.
The board said the flag was immediately replaced.