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New Pride crosswalk at Spencer Middle School marred by vandals

The crosswalk was vandalized with tire marks and red paint, starting just hours after it was completed

The new Pride crosswalk at Spencer Middle School was vandalized over two nights this week with tire marks and red paint, starting just hours after it was completed by City of Langford workers.

It’s at least the third Pride crosswalk to be targeted at schools in the capital region. One at Royal Bay Secondary was vandalized right after it was installed in 2021, while a Pride crosswalk at Bayside Middle School in the Saanich School District was hit by vandals last July.

Painting an existing crossing on Goldstream Avenue in distinctive Pride colours was a project of students in Spencer Middle School’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities Club.

Grade 8 student Jorja Banner said she doesn’t understand why someone would choose to vandalize the crosswalk. “It’s not hurting them. It’s just there for the people who want it, who need it.”

Molly Piper, who is also in Grade 8, said she’s disappointed because having a Pride crosswalk “is our way of showing people that they are welcome to be who they are here.”

“It just goes to show that some people aren’t great at accepting others for being different.”

Principal Jen Nixon said she had a sick feeling in her stomach when she first saw what had been done.

“My heart fell a bit,” she said. “There are haters that exist.”

She said students wanted to get busy right away scrubbing the crosswalk clean, but a Langford crew has been taking care of it.

Sooke School District superintendent Paul Block called the vandalism “deplorable.”

He said the students and Langford council came together to create “a symbol of love, a symbol of tolerance, a symbol of inclusion in our community to make people feel safe” and now it has been desecrated.

“My heart goes out to these kids who put themselves on the line to do this great work with the City of Langford,” Block said.

“You think about the courage of these kids and you think about this stage of their lives and their stage of development as adolescents.”

He said he couldn’t be prouder of students in the district who are “standing up for all people in our community.”

Langford Coun. Kimberley Guiry, who worked closely with the students on the crosswalk project, said the entire council is strongly supportive of them.

“I know inclusion and acceptance is a journey that our society is going through, and it’s fraught with fear and confusion and misinformation,” she said. “But while we’re working through that, we have to be firm in that there’s no room for hate and harm for our fellow community members, especially youth.”

West Shore RCMP are investigating and were at the crosswalk Thursday.

jbell@timescolonist.com