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Book, depicting boys kissing, returns to Catholic elementary school shelves

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CTV Ottawa


Published Tuesday, January 15, 2019 6:00PM EST


Last Updated Wednesday, January 16, 2019 12:30PM EST

A graphic novel, that depicts two boys kissing, is being returned to Catholic elementary school library shelves after being pulled yesterday.

“Drama” by Raina Telgemeier is about a school play, but has a side story about same sex relationships.  After complaints from parents the Board made the decision to ban the book for younger grades.

Since being banned, the school board has reversed its decision, saying: “The Ottawa Catholic School Board has listened to educators, parents, stakeholders & ratepayers and is giving access to ‘Drama’ in elementary libraries for readers ages 10 and up. This is also the recommendation of Scholastic (publisher) and Common Sense Media. We remain fully committed to having safe, inclusive, and accepting schools.” 

In previous statements, the school board expressed concerns with the content of the book and pulled it from elementary school shelves; suggesting only students above the age of 12 read the novels.

“This graphic novel has been made available in the learning commons (libraries) where it is age-appropriate and can be accessed by middle school/senior elementary and high school students.”

The statement also says, “We felt it was appropriate to house the books with our intermediate and high school grades (grades 7-12).”

Scott Hutchison is a parent of two. He says he has no issue with the book. He says, “It’s a reality and it’s been a long time since these things were pushed into the shadows and we shouldn’t go backwards.”

Sarah Jetley is a grade 11 student; she read the book in school years ago. “It was kind of the first time I was exposed to it. Because I was really young. But I think it’s important for people to make their own decision about the topic and it shouldn’t be banned.”

Katherine Zucker says, “It’s important from a young age that you are introduced to these things so that when I young kid is walking down the street and sees two guys holding hands it’s like oh, okay.”

The book is available at Chapters as well as some independent local bookstores.

“They’ve been some of the bestselling graphic novels that we had.” says Bridget Barber of Books on Beechwood.

The Ottawa Public Library has 13 printed copies available- there is a waitlist of about 50. There are also eBooks and French copies- all have holds placed.

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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa

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With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

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Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV

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A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

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COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence

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Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

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“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

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