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Toronto school board trustees defeat motion on Pride parade

The Toronto District School Board voted down a motion to ask Toronto city council to clarify whether or not public nudity laws would be upheld and enforced at the city's annual Pride parade.

Protesters with rainbow armbands and buttons gathered in front of the Toronto District School Board building before the meeting, singing "hey Sam, get off of my pride" in protest of what they said was trustee Sam Sotiropolous's move to remove the school board from the parade.

"Pride Toronto is extremely happy with the decision that's come out here," said Sean Hillier, co-chair of the board of directors at Pride Toronto.

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Mr. Sotiropolous had put forward a motion to write Mayor Rob Ford and Toronto city council to "clarify whether or not the public nudity law of Canada will be upheld and enforced at future Pride events."

"We're in the business of educating students, we're in the business of protecting students," Mr. Sotiropolous said.

"This is not something that is anti-homosexual," he said as members of the public chanted "shame" and booed.

Trustee Maria Rodrigues and chair Chris Bolton put forward a motion to reaffirm the board's support of Pride Toronto.

"We at the TDSB support our LGBT students," Ms. Rodrigues said to applause.

Many trustees wore pink to the meeting as the school board celebrated International Day of Pink to show their support of diversity and ending bullying.

Trustees expressed their opinions that it was not the board's decision to meddle in the affairs of the police or city council.

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"It sure isn't our job to tell Pride what they should or shouldn't be doing. I suggest we have enough to do just trying to get ourselves unmuddled at the TDSB," trustee Sheila Ward said to laughter.

The board has sponsored a group marching in the Pride parade since 1996.

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