Nfld. & Labrador

Springdale students pledge to find crosswalk alternative

Students at Springdale's only high school say town council's rejection of a rainbow crosswalk was disappointing, but the conversation is not over.

Town council rejected proposal for rainbow pride crosswalk — twice

Maria Lawlor speaks to reporters following a meeting of Springdale town council in April, while students Megan Paddock, left, and Claudia Lilly, right, look on. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

A leader of Springdale's high school Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) says her group will keep working with town council, despite a disappointing rejection of a rainbow-coloured pride crosswalk.

Megan Paddock, one of three girls who pitched the crosswalk to Springdale town council on April 23, said her group wants to continue a conversation with the councillors, and will try to install other signs of support for the LGBT community in Springdale.

That could take the form of a pride flag or a rainbow-coloured picnic table, two suggestions that the town council published in a statement on Monday.

"It was definitely a bit of a disappointment to me because obviously we have worked so hard on trying to get this crosswalk," she said.

"Although it's not good that it got turned down, it can create a lot of good conversations and it's going to impact the GSA and the school in ways that we never thought."

A rainbow-coloured pride crosswalk painted in Corner Brook. Students at Indian River High School requested that Springdale town council paint a similar crosswalk between the school and the town arena. (Brian McHugh/CBC)

Following a council meeting where students spoke, Springdale councillors again rejected the proposal by the Indian River High School group to paint a rainbow-coloured pride crosswalk between the high school and the town arena.

The news was announced in a statement sent by the town councillors on Monday; Mayor Dave Edison has since declined interviews.

"They did say no the first time, so we weren't really shocked," said student Maria Lawlor.

She said, "there's no difference" between their proposal — a pride crosswalk — and the suggestions floated by town council.

"They are both showing support and showing inclusion and acceptance," Lawlor said.

Markings made in sidewalk chalk appear outside of Indian River High School in Springdale, near the place where students proposed a rainbow-coloured crosswalk be painted in support of LGBT rights. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

"They're more worried that the crosswalk is permanent, and the flag would just be a temporary thing to support the LGBTQ community," added Paddock. "But I think they're very supportive in their own ways."

"I don't know their motives, their reasoning, but … I think they are willing to work with us," said Claudia Lilly, a Grade 12 student.

Thankful for support

The three girls each said they were thankful for the outpouring of support their group has seen since the crosswalk issue was reported in the media.

"I've had a lot of people come up to me that surprised me, that I never thought would show their support so much," said Lawlor. "It makes me really happy to see more positivity."

Mayor Dave Edison leads a session of Springdale town council on April 23, 2018. Edison said in a news release on Monday that his town council supports the LGBT community, and could have done a better job explaining its rationale. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

Paddock, the only student of the three who is not set to graduate this year, said she hopes the Gender-Sexuality Alliance will grow as a result of all the headlines.

"We have a lot of upcoming events in place, and we're hoping to get a lot of support from that also. We can only go up from here."

About the Author

Garrett Barry

Journalist

Garrett Barry is a CBC reporter based in Gander.