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New to Pride: the big yellow bus

Ottawa-Carleton District School Board to march in parade

We’ve seen rows of them lined up outside of schools, in front of museums, art galleries and recreation centres, their engines idling as they wait for their passengers. They are the big yellow buses that trundle along roads, picking up and dropping off children.

There is one place that we have never seen one, and that’s in the Pride parade — but this year that’s about to change.

For the first time in Pride’s history the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) will participate in the parade — and yes, there will be a big yellow school bus to lead the group.

Since being elected as a trustee in 2010, Donna Blackburn has had her mind set on the OCDSB making a proud appearance.

“The message that we are trying to get out there is that our schools are respectful and safe places for people to learn,” she says.

All members of the OCDSB — support staff, teachers, their assistants, principals, superintendents and trustees — have been informed of the board’s participation. Blackburn is hopeful that the response will be strong.

“We’re hoping for the biggest contingent — you know, dare to dream,” she says.

The word has also been sent to students involved in the Rainbow Youth Forum, an annual conference that helps OCDSB staff and students enhance their knowledge and awareness of gender identity, sexual orientation and gender expression.

Although Blackburn was behind the push for OCDSB to participate, she is quick to point out that many people worked hard on the effort, in particular, Corrine Davison, the equity instructional coach.

“She has done a tremendous job in getting us organized,” Blackburn says. “She has been getting together the paraphernalia to hand out, the banner. She has made sure the communication has gone smoothly.”