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School board, police investigating reports that Mississauga students burned Pride flag on video

Last Updated Jun 10, 2021 at 4:59 pm EDT

The Peel District School Board (PDSB) and Peel regional police have launched investigations after a video surfaced appearing to show students from a Mississauga school burning a Pride flag.

During the brief video people can be heard laughing while the flag goes up in flames.

A news tip sent to CityNews alleged that two students at Cawthra Park Secondary School recorded the burning of the flag and sent the video to members of the school’s 2SLGBTQ+ community.

Peel police say they are investigating the incident as “hate-motivated.”

In a statement to CityNews the school board said it is aware of the video, and denounced the actions of those involved.

“The PDSB and Cawthra Park Secondary School condemn this hateful act of homophobia, transphobia and biphobia. We take this very seriously and have begun an investigation,” the board wrote.

“We recognize the harm that actions like this cause our students, staff and families. Behaviour like this is unacceptable and will not be tolerated at Cawthra Park or at any school within the PDSB.”

It’s not yet clear if the students involved have been identified.

The PDSB adds that it “is committed to dismantling systemic homophobia, transphobia, and oppression as a foundation for student achievement and wellbeing. Cawthra Park students and staff who require wellness support have been encouraged to reach out to the school guidance department and/or the school administration.”

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce commented on the video Thursday, calling it “disturbing, unacceptable and contrary to our commitment to inclusivity for all students.”

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie also released a statement, saying she was “appalled and saddened” by the flag burning.

“This is not what Mississauga stands for, and I condemn this act of hate in the strongest possible terms. It’s disgusting and unacceptable,” Crombie wrote.

“This incident hits very close to home for me,” she added. “I am a proud parent of a 2SLGBTQ+ son. And I can only imagine the hurt and concern an act like this could cause families with 2SLGBTQ+ children.”

RELATED: Police looking for 3 suspects after man beaten in homophobic attack at Toronto Islands

In a separate incident, Toronto police say they are investigating reports that a man was followed and taunted with homophobic slurs before being badly beaten on the Toronto Island on Saturday.

Three suspects are being sought in the case and the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks confirmed they have suspended player Chris Larsen after he was identified as one of the alleged attackers.

In a statement Thursday, the CFL said it condemned the violence, but was awaiting the outcome of an investigation.

Both the alleged assault and the flag burning come during Pride Month in Toronto.