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School district wins Pride award

With an inclusivity teacher, classrooms adorned with rainbow colours and new supportive resources for students, School District 57 is being acknowledged as a local champion by the Prince George Pride Society.
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From left, School District #57 representatives Faith MacKay, Darleen Patterson, Lisa Carson, Sue Gammon, Tim Bennett, Sharon Cairns, and Cindy Heitman show off the Prince George Pride Phoenix Award which was given to School District #57 on Sunday at the Phoenix Brunch as part of the 2016 Prince George Pride celebrations. Citizen Photo by James Doyle July 11, 2016

With an inclusivity teacher, classrooms adorned with rainbow colours and new supportive resources for students, School District 57 is being acknowledged as a local champion by the Prince George Pride Society.

These actions were only some of the listed reasons for the district's receipt of the Phoenix Award on Sunday.

Named annually, the award is given to a person or organization "that resonates with the ideals of a phoenix being a longlived bird that is cyclically regenerated or reborn" and supports the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) community.

Milan Halikowski, a local transgender youth and activist, was last year's winner.

"School District No. 57 has a vision for the future on how to make our district safer and to connect LGBTQ students and their families to our schools," the nomination package said.

It pointed to an LGBTQ advisory group, the creation of inclusivity resource teacher, the revamping of the district-wide LGBTQ policy and efforts to have all-gender bathrooms in all schools.

The nominator noted staff are using LGBTQ-friendly resources and schools are ordering their own copies for libraries. So far $10,000 worth of resources have been purchased.

"(T)hey are booking the inclusivity resource teacher into so many classes that they can't all even be reached before the end of the year, and they have each school looking at their buildings for all gender bathrooms, and looking at and reviewing school code of conduct and policy about protecting LGBTQ kids," the nomination said.

Stacey Hewlett, president of the Prince George Pride Society, congratulated the district on its achievements. The award was announced out at the annual Sunday brunch to close the pride weekend's festivities.