What’s happening in Rainbow Schools?
Rainbow Schools participate in Classroom Closet and Free to Be Me
Students in Rainbow Schools will join together to participate in the annual Classroom Closet and Free to Be Me conferences, engaging in two full days of educational workshops with the 2S-LGBTQ+ community.
Rainbow District School Board met with the organizer of the International Day of Pink. There is agreement that the Board will focus its efforts on its existing events in support of students and will not participate in the tour. The organizer is currently considering a community-based event during the evening of February 10, 2023.
Rainbow Schools have a long history of embracing diversity and will work with GSAs and community partners to grow these efforts through the upcoming conferences.
Classroom Closet – February 17, 2023
Rainbow District School Board will continue its tradition of participating in the Classroom Closet being presented by Réseau ACCESS Network.
Plans are being finalized for students to engage in the workshops being offered at La Place des Arts in Sudbury on Friday, February 17, 2023.
Students will be accompanied by allies from participating schools. There is a strong support system on site as well as resources for appropriate follow up.
The Classroom Closet provides conference participants with the knowledge, attitude, and skills required to support and advocate for 2S-LGBTQ+ students, friends, family members, and co-workers. A diverse range of speakers and facilitators will deliver workshops on a number of 2S-LGBTQ+ related topics.
According to organizers, the Classroom Closet intends to help make Northern Ontario a safer place for everyone. Classroom Closet is about coming together, learning, making new friends and meeting new allies.
Students have appreciated the opportunity to participate in the Classroom Closet to build their understanding, gain new knowledge, dialogue with like-minded students, and meet allies. Students have come away from the workshops feeling empowered and energized.
Free to Be Me – March 30, 2023 (7 and 8) and April 27, 2023 (9 to 12)
Rainbow District School Board has been presenting Embrace Diversity: Free to Be Me (formerly known as Dare to Stand Out) since 2009. The educational conference is the ongoing work of the Equity and Inclusive Education Committee which includes community partners.
The full-day symposium will offer workshops for students in Grades 7 and 8 on March 30, 2023 and students in Grades 9 to 12 on April 27, 2023.
Free to Be Me is all about listening to and honouring student voice. Staff members reach out to the GSAs from all Rainbow secondary schools to seek input on topics of interest to them.
Partners provide guest speakers and deliver workshops, often based on the lived-experience of members of the 2S-LGBTQ+ community. Once again, there is a strong support system on site as well as resources for appropriate follow up.
In addition to the educational component, Free to Be Me is a forum for students to network and share in a friendly and safe environment. The goal of Free to Be Me is to create and enhance school-based supports for students who are lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, questioning and two-spirited as well as students with friends and family members in the 2S-LGBTQ+ community.
School leaders, Athletic Council members, School Councils, and Gay Straight Alliances from Rainbow secondary schools will be invited to participate. Participants build understanding and brainstorm solutions to help foster a greater sense of safety and belonging in their schools and communities.
Nicole Charette, Senior Advisor,
Corporate Communications and Strategic Planning,
Rainbow District School Board, 674-3171, ext. 7217.