CAW Calls on Halton Catholic District School Board to Reverse Ban on Gay Straight Alliances

January 13, 2011, 10:28 AM EST

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 CAW President Ken Lewenza is calling on the Halton Catholic District School Board to reverse its ban on the formation of Gay Straight Alliance groups in its high schools.

In a letter to the Halton Catholic District School Board, Lewenza said GSAs are essential to promoting safe and respectful learning for all students.

Banning GSAs "will further isolate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer students and students of same gender families. LGBTQ youth who routinely hear homophobic or transphobic comments need a safe place to turn," writes Lewenza.

"Research has shown that LGBTQ students who are feeling isolated and bullied are three to four times more likely to attempt suicide, have increased rates of depression, higher rates of being victims of discrimination and violence and higher school drop out rates."

Lewenza also points out that in the province of Ontario, Catholic school boards are publicly funded and therefore should be mandated to follow policies set out by the Ontario government, including the acceptance and promotion of Gay Straight Alliances in schools.

The union has a history of defending the rights of LGBTQ people, and recently passed a statement condemning bullying of LGBTQ youth, available at:

The CAW represents 200,000 workers across the country, including thousands of workers (and parents) in the Halton region. A number of CAW local unions in the region have already sent or plan to send letters to the Halton Catholic District School Board also.

To read the full letter, please visit:

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