This article has been updated with police response.
Police are investigating and students involved will receive “appropriate consequences” after a Pride flag was destroyed at Bay View High School in Upper Tantallon this week.
A post on social media said the flag was traditionally signed by 2SLGBTQIA+ students at graduation each year, and that it had been burned.
In an email around 4:30pm Friday afternoon, school principal Dunovan Kalberlah told families some students this week “took part in an act of discrimination” against school community members. He said a Pride flag was removed from the cafeteria and desecrated.
“This act is unacceptable, and I am deeply troubled by what happened. The students involved will receive appropriate consequences according to the Provincial Code of Conduct Policy,” Kalberlah wrote in the email.
Kalberlah said the RCMP have also been contacted and an investigation into the incident is underway.
RCMP spokesperson Andrew Joyce confirms that police were contacted at 2:47pm on Friday about “a Pride flag being pulled down from inside a school in Upper Tantallon. The flag was then taken outside by this person and damaged. The matter is still under investigation, no arrests nor charges have yet been made. In circumstances like this, ‘hate-motivation’ would be considered by the investigator.”
Repair the harm
“I want to assure you that the safety and well-being of all of our students is our highest priority – and we are taking this incident seriously,” Kalberlah wrote.
“Right now, our focus is on ensuring that we repair the harm that has been caused to our students and community.”
To provide support for students and staff, a member of the HRCE Diversity Team will be at the school next week. Kalberlah said together they’ll be speaking with all students to give them a chance to share concerns and potential solutions.
“We will remind them of how we are to conduct ourselves at school in a way that maintains dignity and respect for all,” Kalberlah wrote.
The email also noted that staff members working with the school’s Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA), student council, and its equity team will get to meet “and develop a response that will highlight our priorities and maintain a level of safety as we navigate this difficult time.”
“I also want to assure you that the actions of a few are not reflective of the culture of Bay View High School,” Kalberlah said.
The email concludes by advising families to reach out to Kalberlah directly if their child needs support, or if they have any questions or concerns.
The Halifax Examiner has reached out to others and will update accordingly.
As a member of the larger local 2SLBGTQIA+ community, I find the response from the school administration unacceptable and disappointing. It is, imo, a weak statement and highlights how this is not being taken serious. This is not the first attack against my community in the last several years and as always the response is underwhelming and insufficient. We need to only look to our Américain neighbours to see what is coming bc people in power lack the fortitude to act and take my communities concerns as valid and true.