Message from the Director - Sept. 19, 2023

Limestone Learning Foundation
Message from the Director
Posted on 09/20/2023
Message from the Director - Sept. 19, 2023

Dear Families,

On a daily basis, staff across Limestone support student achievement and well-being, and work hard to create inclusive spaces where every student feels valued, seen and included. Our work to support all students is critical. 

As you may be aware, there is a demonstration scheduled to take place in Kingston, and other parts of Ontario and Canada, on Wednesday, September 20. This has only come to our attention in the last few days. The protest group is in opposition to any school curriculum focused on gender identity or gender expression. In some past cases, these protests have fostered inflammatory, transphobic, and hateful behaviours against members of 2SLGBTQ+ communities. We also understand that counter-protests may take place. Our expectation is that all students will be in school tomorrow, focusing on learning. At this point, we have no reason to believe that protests will be at any school sites. It appears the protest will focus on making its way downtown, protesting in front of City Hall, and then potentially, in the late morning, moving to the LDSB Education Centre (Board Office) on Portsmouth Avenue. 

Ahead of these planned demonstrations, we want to make it unequivocally clear that Limestone stands in support of all protected grounds of the Ontario Human Rights Code. The Ontario Human Rights Code is not a checklist where some grounds outweigh others, and the protected grounds include gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. We stand with all students, staff, and families, in protecting all grounds under the Code. It is important to remember that the Code is the law in Ontario, and we have a moral and legal obligation to ensure that it is upheld.

Harassment, discrimination, and hate have no place in Limestone. In our schools, we do not tell students who they should be, but welcome them as they are. We do this by focusing on their academic learning and fostering feelings of belonging as expected in the Ontario curriculum and the Ontario Human Rights Code. 

“The Ontario Human Rights Code (Code) protects everyone from discrimination and harassment based on numerous grounds, including disability, gender identity and expression, race, and religion. In schools, following the Code means that every student has the right to a learning environment free from discrimination, harassment, or other expressions of hatred—an environment where everyone feels safe to learn, thrive, and be themselves.”  -OHRC, Statement on Anti-Hate, June 2023

We know that news of the planned demonstrations, and the demonstrations themselves, are particularly upsetting for some students, staff, and families. Additional support may be required by some students and families in response to this protest. I know school and system staff are ready to support where needed, as we do every day.  Students and/or families should reach out to their school Principal or another staff member at their school if they are in need of support. 

Krishna Burra

Director of Education

Limestone District School Board

The Limestone District School Board is situated on traditional territories of the Anishinaabe & Haudenosaunee.