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Pride flag replaces Canadian flag at Simcoe County public schools, sparking debate

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The removal of Canadian flags at public schools across the county for Pride Month is raising much debate these days.

Jill Chalmers, a grandmother of seven, said she was stunned to see the Canadian flag replaced at local public schools in Simcoe County.

"We're Canadian. You do not take that Canadian flag down and replace it with a Pride flag - with any flag. If you want, put it on another flag pole or put it underneath the Canadian flag, but never take the Canadian flag down," she said.

CTV News contacted the Simcoe County District School Board about replacing the Canadian flag with another, and in a statement, the board replied that it "is committed to creating a culture of belonging for all students and staff and providing environments that are inclusive and free from discrimination."

The French board said the Canadian and Franco-Ontarian flags must be raised at all its schools. If there is only one flag pole, the Franco-Fierté flag, which has both symbols, will fly below the Canadian flag.

The Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board has only the Canadian flag on its poles.

"All of our schools have been provided with Pride flags. These flags are displayed in various ways at our schools as an important symbol to students and staff that our spaces our safe, inclusive and welcoming for everyone. The Canadian flag flies on our flag poles," stated Pauline Stevenson with the Catholic school board.

The issue regarding what flags should be raised and what flags should not has been highly debated, and parents say it's a fragile topic concerning Pride Month that needs to be handled with care and compassion.

"I think the Canadian flag should be there. You can't just put the Pride flag up and remove the Canadian flag. We have to respect Pride month, but at the same time, you can't remove the Canadian flag; it doesn't make sense," said Barrie resident Jude Dholah.

The public board explained that the Pride flag is up this month because it's Pride month, adding its school will raise flags to show support during specific times of the year. It did not, however, touch on why the Canadian flag was removed and replaced.

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