The Toronto District School Board has voted down a controversial measure about public nudity and the Pride parade.
The board on Wednesday voted 16-6 against the motion that would have asked the mayor and city council to “clarify” whether laws against public nudity would be enforced when the annual parade returns to Toronto streets in June.
School trustee Sam Sotiropoulos — one of the three board members behind the motion — argued the nudity often on display during the parade is not appropriate for children. The TDSB has run floats and a bus at the Pride parade, and participates in many other Pride events.
“We are in the business of educating students, but we are also in the business of protecting students,” Sotiropoulos said during his address to the board. The motion was also put forward by trustees Irene Atkinson and John Hastings
Opponents said the motion was homophobic. The debate brought boos and heckles from other board members, leading the chairman, at one point, to threaten he would clear the room.
Demonstrators also gathered outside TDSB headquarters to protest the motion.
Debate about gay rights, homophobia and the board’s role in law enforcement continued after the vote as the board moved on to a separate motion that TDSB “reaffirm” its commitment to the Pride organization.
The TDSB was also supposed to debate whether all parent volunteers should go through police background checks.
Proponents say the checks will make schools and students safer, but others worry the cost and hassle will deter some parents from pitching in.
"We don't want to deter parent involvement," said Chris Glover, TDSB trustee for Etobicoke-Centre, earlier told CBC News.
"It takes two weeks to get a police record check in York Region. It takes up to six months in Toronto," he said. "We need to converse with police to make this an efficient process."
The motion was sent back to committee for further study.