A 17-year-old girl, Natalie Bird, has been suspended from school for refusing to wear a Remembrance Day poppy containing a rainbow in support of LGBT+ causes.
In a report by Canadian publication, The Post Millennial, the girl is the cousin of a former Conservative representative from Northern Manitoba, Cyara Bird.
Bird announced the news of her cousin’s suspension on social media, following her rejection of the newly added rainbow into the traditional red and black poppy to commemorate the millions of young soldiers who lost their lives in the two World Wars.
According to The Post Millennial, Bird’s cousin, Natalie, and another student voiced their reproach toward the idea of infusing the LGBT rainbow into the poppy as disrespectful to those who lost their lives.
As a result, she and the other student were sent to the headmaster’s office where they were punished for their positions.
In the tweet, Bird says, “My 17 year old cousin was suspended today… want to know why? Her choir teacher was demanding that the choir wear rainbow poppies during their performance in the Remembrance Day ceremony.
She and another student rejected that idea, and both were suspended for “hate speech.”
Bird alleges that the school had urged her cousin to remain hushed over the decision to suspend her until after Remembrance Day.
In another tweet, Bird expresses her views as follows: “Let me be clear. The message I am sending with this tweet is, the red poppy stands for EVERYONE who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country, whether they were white, indigenous, black, or any other nationality, and whether they were straight or apart of the LGBTQ+ community.”
Finally, Bird reveals that the direct offense for the suspension was “hate speech”: “There was no forcing of wearing a multicolor poppy it was a strong suggestion that Natalie was strongly against and when she put her feeling on paper she was suspended for hate speech”.
In another article from The Post Millennial, Natalie opens up detailing what had happened:
“They accused me of hate speech and endangering the physical safety of the group of individuals [LGBT students].” Natalie says, “They asked me what I was thinking, and I told them everything … I said I was just voicing my beliefs and morals.”
Natalie says the two male administrators continued to accuse her of “hate speech,” and she became so scared at one point that she was on the verge of tears. “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.”
Natalie claims that as she tried to record the conversation between herself and school staff over the decision, her phone was confiscated.
In the article, she continues:
“So I asked why? Why am I being suspended and punished for expressing my feelings? And they said everybody is entitled to their own beliefs, opinions, and way of life. So I asked, why am I not?”
Natalie says her parents were notified at the end of the suspension order. Her father confirmed that he witnessed her phone being returned to her after he arrived to pick her up, and also confirmed that she is not allowed to return to school until Tuesday. They stated that the exact reason for suspension was “hate speech,” not a specific refusal to wear the rainbow poppy. Bird noted that Natalie’s father is “very proud” of his daughter.