Lady Gaga sends message to Toronto school

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Lady Gaga — File photo

Lady Gaga delivered a personalized video message to some of her “little monsters” at a west-end Toronto high school Friday supporting an assembly against bullying and homophobia.

“I just wanted to tell you how proud I am of you for being such a strong advocate for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community in your school,” the pop superstar said in the clip played for students at the Etobicoke School of the Arts.

“There should be more little monsters like you.”

School principal Rob MacKinnon said Lady Gaga recorded the video message after student council president Jacques St. Pierre wrote a letter to her several months ago, asking for a word of support for the equality assembly.

“It’s an arts school. It’s a very inclusive school. We have a lot of gay and lesbian students,” MacKinnon said in a telephone interview, noting Pierre was further driven to hold the assembly after last month’s suicide of openly gay Ottawa teenager Jamie Hubley, who was bullied by his peers.

“When (Jacques) got the video he came to my office very, very excited with the teacher adviser and showed me the video and my jaw kind of dropped.”

In the video, the usually outlandishly dressed Lady Gaga looks relatively demure in a teal pillbox hat topped with a giant bow, and a teal suit jacket. Seated in front of a draped window, she says she received St. Pierre’s fan letter and wanted to send the video on behalf of not only her team but also “little monsters around the world.”

“It is important that we push the boundaries of love and acceptance. It is important that we spread tolerance and equality for all students in light of the recent suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer,” says the singer, referring to a bullied, gay New York teen who committed suicide in September.

“Because of the bullying that he experienced in school, I am going to be working as hard as I can to make bullying a hate crime.”

The chart-topper — whose song “Born this Way” carries a strong message against homophobia — closes out the clip to the school by blowing a kiss to the camera and telling them: “Love each other. Treat each other with kindness because we’re all we’ve got.”

MacKinnon said school officials kept the video a secret from the student body until Friday morning, when they played it in the auditorium in two assemblies.

“It’s a very powerful, powerful, powerful experience for the kids and for all of us,” he said.

“Everyone was weepy throughout it. It was really lovely.”

The assembly also featured a personalized video message from openly gay comedian Rick Mercer. Students also got to see one of his recent rants from his CBC-TV program “The Rick Mercer Report” in which he calls for an end to bullying in school.

Some students also danced and sang a Lady Gaga song as part of the assembly.

“It’s just such a wonderful, feel-good story,” said MacKinnon.

“There’s lots of great support all around, but I think this is pretty exceptional for Jacques and for the students, and for all of us.”

Organizations: Toronto school, Etobicoke School of the Arts, CBC

Geographic location: Toronto, Ottawa, New York

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