School board, police investigate reports of Mississauga students burning pride flag in video

The Peel District School Board (PDSB) and Peel Regional Police have launched an investigation after a video was released showing students at a Mississauga school burning a pride flag.

During the brief video, people can be heard laughing as the flag ignites.

A report sent to CityNews alleged that two students at Cawthra Park High School recorded the burning of the flag and sent the video to members of the school’s LGBTQ2S + community.

Peel Police said they were investigating the incident as “motivated by hate”.

In a statement to CityNews, the school board said it was aware of the video and denounced the actions of those involved.

“PDSB and Cawthra Park High School condemn this heinous act of homophobia, transphobia and biphobia. We take this very seriously and have opened an investigation, ”the board wrote.

“We recognize the harm that actions like this cause to our students, staff and their families. Such behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in Cawthra Park or any school in the PDSB. “

It is not yet clear whether the students involved have been identified.

Recent Cawthra Park graduate Thomas Cappadocia is a gay man the video was sent to.

“He was burned on school grounds, by students, sent to another student and that student was threatened,” Cappadocia told 680 NEWS.

“Nobody cares about the flag itself, a piece of cloth. This is the message that is sent.

Cappadocia says it recognizes the spot on Cawthra Park high school grounds where the school was set on fire.

Peel Regional Police Const. Akhil Mooken wants everyone involved to know this is fully investigated.

“Especially since it’s Pride Month, we want to make sure the LGBTQ2S + community understands that this isn’t something we just sit idly by.”

Mooken says it was the school board that contacted Peel Police about the incident on June 8.

The PDSB adds that it “is committed to dismantling systemic homophobia, transphobia and oppression as the foundation for student success and well-being. Students and staff at Cawthra Park who need wellness support have been encouraged to contact the school guidance service and / or school administration.

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce commented on the video Thursday, calling it “disturbing, unacceptable and contrary to our commitment to inclusion for all students.”

RELATED: Police Search 3 Suspects After Man Beaten in Homophobic Attack on Toronto Islands

In a separate incident, Toronto Police said they were investigating reports that a man was followed and taunted by homophobic slurs before being brutally beaten on Toronto Island on Saturday.

Three suspects are wanted in the case and the CFL Ottawa Redblacks have confirmed they suspended player Chris Larsen after he was identified as one of the alleged attackers.

In a statement Thursday, the CFL said it condemned the violence but was awaiting the result of an investigation.

The alleged assault and flag burning occurred during Toronto Pride Month.

With files from 680 NEWS reporter Mark Douglas

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