The Louis Riel School Division is moving its inaugural board meeting of 2023-24 online in anticipation of conflict between two protests — one of which will demand trustees “stop promoting sexual orientation and gender ideology.”

“We do not discourage anyone from protesting and hope that all involved do so safely, peacefully, and respectfully,” superintendent Christian Michalik and Sandy Nemeth, chairwoman of the board of trustees, said in a joint statement sent to community members Tuesday.

At the same time, the notice announced the board’s decision to host a virtual public meeting Sept. 5 “in an attempt to do our part to de-escalate tension.”

Since the last of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were lifted, trustees have been inviting members of the public to pre-register to attend any of their meetings in-person or via Microsoft Teams.

Trustees recently relocated the bimonthly events from LRSD’s St. Vital headquarters (900 St Mary’s Rd.) to a Windsor Park boardroom (50 Monterey Rd.) to support the hybrid delivery model.

During the last meeting (June 20), a group of supporters of St. Boniface representative Francine Champagne — who was suspended in connection to making anti-LGBTTQ+ posts and signal-boosting conspiracy theories on social media — showed up to demand answers about the penalty.

Many of the attendees, including a number of self-described “freedom fighters,” announced they would be back to defend the rookie trustee in the fall.

Champagne’s three-month suspension ends Sept. 6.

As back-to-school season gets underway, Action4Canada slips have been dropped off at residences in LRSD to encourage parents and citizens to show up to the upcoming meeting and raise concerns about schools promoting homosexuality and transgender ideology.

The organization organizes letter-writing campaigns, petitions, and, per its website, seeks to “make Canada great again.”

Local teacher Kay Wojnarski is organizing a simultaneous anti-hate rally at LRSD headquarters shortly before the meeting is scheduled to start.

maggie.macintosh@freepress.mb.ca

By Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Aug 30, 2023 at 14:06

This item reprinted with permission from   Free Press   Winnipeg, Manitoba
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