There are only ten days left to nominate for the position of Halton Catholic District School Board trustee and, so far, there is only one candidate for the job in Wards 1 & 2. She is Kirsten Kelly.
Kelly is an 18-year year-old who served as a student trustee on the Board during 2020 and 2021. She gained some local attention when she started an on-line petition to convince the School Board to fly the Pride Flag. The petition received 25,000 signatures contributing to the Board’s eventual decision to display the flag.
“All students should feel welcome and included in schools, which of course includes students of diverse sexual orientations and or gender identities”, said Kelly during an interview Monday.
Kelly has strong feelings about all marginalized students. “My top priority when elected would be to give focus on students, especially those whose voices are often overlooked, such as marginalized groups. I would like to address bigotry and racism in school, especially anti-black racism”.
Among her many priorities, Kelly would also like to see the Catholic Board change its policy on student trustees to permit non-Catholic students to be appointed to the position.
Kelly is supported by an advocacy group called Halton Parents for Change which she said encouraged her to run in Wards 1 &2, even though she lives in Ward 3.
She feels her youth is an advantage.
“I feel it is important to have someone who was a recent student. I know what students are looking for, what they need for student success…… As a recent graduate, I will be able to better understand the needs of students. I feel it’s really important to have someone who is young, who understands the experiences of the school environment”.
The wards 1 &2 trustee position is currently held by Vince Iantomassi. He was recently barred from Board meetings for the rest of the term for breaching the Code of Conduct. He has not announced whether he will be running again. Kelly admits the performance of Iantomassi is one factor that lead her to run for the office.
“Some of the Board Trustees can show a lack of etiquette at the board table, tending to make meetings longer than they need to be and bringing in irrelevant arguments, or pursuing their own beliefs rather than focusing on students.”.
Kelly intends to formally start her campaign for the job within a week and will begin by launching an election web site.
The former Assumption High School student will enter the University of Waterloo this fall to study Geomatics.
By Rick Craven