Students and staff at Laurie Middle School held a ceremony celebrating diversity with the official unveiling of a rainbow-coloured entrance on Friday afternoon.
The rainbow sidewalk was an initiative pitched and led by a student advocacy group — The Outlet — which worked side by side with staff to make it a reality.
Ciara Chudy, a Grade 8 student, served as the MC, while fellow students also spoke about the importance of recognizing and celebrating LGBTQ+ diversity.
“It’s just become a big part of our school and it reminds me that there’s equality and there are people who care and will have your back when you are being stepped on, or being made fun of,” said Chudy.
Chudy also highlighted the importance of support from teachers and Laurie Middle School staff.
“Teachers aren’t there just to teach you and be strict and have rules in place; they’re there to be your friend at points when needed and they’re there to protect you and keep you safe,” Chudy said.
LMS principal Michelle Sartorel and Tristan Taylor, a school counsellor, also recognized The Outlet for it’s advocacy work and noted the importance of tolerance and respect.
“I think that having a symbol such as the one I’m standing on now is a huge testament to the acceptance and the growing understanding of LGBTQ+ issues in our schoools,” said Taylor. “I’m just really proud to be a staff member at this school and in this school district where this is something that is a priority for students.”
Laurie Middle School’s rainbow sidewalks is now one of three at Southeast Kootenay facilities; the first was unveiled in front of district offices last May, while another has been recently painted at Mount Baker Secondary School.