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Louis Riel School Division moves board meeting online due to ongoing tensions

The Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) is moving its upcoming school trustee meeting online amid ongoing tensions from its last meeting that resulted in police being called and the meeting ending early.

The division announced Tuesday that the meeting scheduled for Sept. 5 will now be held online.

This comes after the board’s June 20th meeting saw a group of people come in and disrupt it. The group was there in support of Francine Champagne, an LRSD trustee who was suspended on June 6 for making transphobic comments on social media that were deemed disrespectful to the LGBTQ2S+ community.

Champagne received a three-month suspension for violating the board's code of conduct.

Due to the presence of the group, the trustees reduced the agenda to three items and called the police, as some felt unsafe.

“We have a duty to avoid exposing our students, families and staff to the aggressive and threatening behaviours including the homophobic, transphobic, and racist remarks made by some of the attendees at that meeting,” a statement from the board reads.

Last week, LRSD announced they had banned the group from attending the meeting.

“Subsequent to this decision, there has been an increase in social media posts on this topic, including notices of a protest and counter-protest to coincide with the next regular board meeting on September 5. We do not discourage anyone from protesting and hope that all involved do so safely, peacefully, and respectfully,” the division said.

Sandy Nemeth, president of the LRSD board of trustees, said Winnipeg police have been made aware of the two protests scheduled for the meeting date.

“The Winnipeg Police Service will be watching and will be prepared to step in if the need arises,” she said. “Our hope, again, is that folks will arrive and share their message in a peaceful, respectful manner and that police intervention won't be necessary.”

The agenda and instructions on how to join online will be published on the division’s website on Sept. 1. Registration is required before attending the meeting.

Trustees will deal with the unfinished business from the June 20 meeting and add new items, including revisions to procedural bylaws related to public participation in future meetings.

-With files from CTV's Dan Vadeboncoeur Top Stories

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