The 17-year-old cousin of a former political candidate from the Canadian province of Manitoba was suspended from school after she distributed posters explaining why she was not interested in wearing a “rainbow poppy” on Remembrance Day.
According to a report from The Post Millennial, Cyara Bird’s teenage cousin Natalie was suspended for putting up posters around the school outlining why she thought the “rainbow poppy” — intended to show support for LGBTQ causes — was “disrespectful” to her grandfather as well as other World War II veterans whose ultimate sacrifice is commemorated annually on Nov. 11.
The poster reportedly read:
Never seen something so disrespectful in all my days. What does LGBTQ have to do with the war? Red represents blood, black represents widows and loved ones, green represents land the blood was spilled on. NEVER change the poppy.
Way to un-do centuries of blood, sweat, and tears all because you needed to do the dishes. Keep it in your pants; nobody wants or needs to see it.
You’ve got a whole month dedicated to the LGBTQ community, but the people who legitimately made a difference and died so that we could live decent lives get one day. You don’t need a poppy, you just clearly want attention. One day to celebrate the real hero’s [sic]. How about we don’t make it about your sexuality for once?
If you didn’t make such a big deal about it and force people to make it a part of their lives, it would be no problem.
Natalie and another student also allegedly said they would not wear the “rainbow poppy” at Stonewall Collegiate because they preferred the traditional poppy, often a red and black fabric pin.
The student in question said she first became frustrated with the situation when teachers and school counselors began encouraging her and other students to wear the colorful poppy pins. In protest, she printed off fliers that she pasted to the walls of the school. But as she was putting them up, she told The Post Millennial, Natalie watched teachers going behind her and removing them, taking the posters to the school secretary.
Ultimately, she was sent to the principal’s office because of her protest.
“They accused me of hate speech and endangering the physical safety of the group of individuals [LGBT students],” Natalie said. “They asked me what I was thinking, and I told them everything. … I said I was just voicing my beliefs and morals. I got to the point of almost crying, but I didn’t. I had to be the voice for all those families who were greatly disrespected and offended.”
“So I asked why? ‘Why am I being suspended and punished for expressing my feelings?’” she continued. “And they said, ‘Everybody is entitled to their own beliefs, opinions, and way of life.’ So I asked, ‘Why am I not?’”
Much like Veterans’ Day in the United States, Remembrance Day is recognized by the British Commonwealth as a day to remember the members of the armed forces who gave up their lives in defense of their respective countries.
The Royal Canadian Legion, a nonprofit organization founded in 1925 and comprised of former military members, first responders, and public servants, issued a statement to The Post Millennial, describing the poppy pin as “a sacred symbol” that “should not be defaced in any way,” including changes to its color.
For its part, the school division pushed back against some of the reporting about the way the situation with Natalie was handled at Stonewall Collegiate. The board of trustees made clear that neither Natalie nor any other students were “mandated” to wear the “rainbow poppy.”
“In the interests of maintaining confidentiality, we would not publicly comment on any student matter whatsoever,” said board chair Alan Campbell during a recent phone conversation with Lifesite News.