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Northern Ont. police investigate possible hate crime as Pride flag burned

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A high school in Northern Ontario had its Pride flag ripped from its pole and set on fire earlier this month in what provincial police are calling a hate crime.

Central Algoma Secondary School's Pride flag was ripped from its pole and set on fire on May 9, 2024. (Supplied/Ontario Provincial Police)

Officials at Central Algoma Secondary School contacted Ontario Provincial Police May 9 regarding the flag burning at the Desbarats-area high school shortly after 10 a.m.

Desbrats is 60 kilometres east of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

“The OPP retrieved video footage from the school and an individual could be seen lowering the school's Pride flag, ripping it off the pole, set it on fire and immediately runs away,” said police in a news release Wednesday.

“The person appears to be male, wearing a dark hoodie and may have used an accelerant to set the flag on fire.”

Police said the incident occurred about 2 a.m.

Then on May 21, two typed notes were turned into school staff with hateful messaging towards the LGBTQ2S+ community.

An undated photo of the exterior of Central Algoma Secondary School in Desbrats, Ont. (Algoma District School Board/Facebook)

OPP said the investigation into these incidents is ongoing.

Police have asked anyone with information related to these “hate crimes” or who knows of anyone in the area who has expressed extreme views about the LGBTQ2S+ community to contact the OPP or their nearest police authority. Anyone individuals who wish to remain anonymous can also contact Crime Stoppers.

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