In schools across Simcoe County, there are mounting reports of hatred and violence regarding gender, race, anti-black racism, homophobia and more, with little or no accountability from the school boards within Simcoe County or the schools where incidents took place. It has become clear that our youth are in danger at the very institutions we entrust with their safety and education. In regards to SCDSC alone:
Recent events have demonstrated that schools in Simcoe County have failed to foster a “positive school climate “as there have been multiple incidents of inappropriate student behaviour. This behaviour, which includes “bullying and conflict “has not been addressed effectively. As a result, there are students who are being denied their right “to be safe in their school community.” Since the Code and these policies are not currently being followed, UPlift Black, Parents Against Racism – Simcoe County, and Parent’s of Black Children, along with members of the community and concerned parents demand change through the following Calls To Action:
1)REFORM THE EDUCATION ACT
ALL BOARDS to meet with PARSC monthly, invite PARSC to all meetings involving decision making that will impact racialized students and maintain a minimum of two Parent Involvement Committee seats for, and not limited to:
2)DECOLONIZE THE CURRICULUM
ALL BOARDS to audit curricula through an anti-oppression framework and remove books/curricula as advised by Equity Department, add books written by people from equity–seeking communities (in Canada equity seeking groups are defined as Women, Aboriginal Peoples, Persons with Disabilities and Members of Visible Minorities, we extend this definition to include 2SLGBTQ+) about the experiences of BIPOC, 2SLGBTQ+ and girls/women’s experiences and the historical context in which they occurred/continue to occur.
3)IMPLEMENT GRADUATION COACHES
Implement Graduation Coaches, beginning in Grade 6, with coverage for ALL Secondary and Support Feeder Schools.
4)CONDUCT EQUITY AUDITS FOR SCHOOL BOARDS
Conduct an equity audit based in AR/ABR/AO framework on all materials, resources, curriculum, training, policy and procedures.
5)REPLACE POLICE WITH MENTAL HEALTH WORKERS
ALL BOARDS to remove police from all schools and replace them with therapists/counselors with de-escalation and AR/ABR/AO training/expertise.
6)DEVELOP AND MANDATE AR/ABR/AO TRAINING
Develop strategy and policies for ongoing Anti-Racism, Anti-Black Racism, Anti-Oppression Strategy, Policy and training for All Simcoe County Schools.
Each board must create an Equity Department composed of Anti-Oppression experts from culturally relevant outside sources, with lived experience (not teachers or principals).
7)COLLECT RACE-BASED ACHIEVEMENT AND DISCIPLINE DATA
Audit Achievement and Discipline Data. ALL BOARDS to collect race-based achievement and discipline data on all students to identify bias in teachers and support racialized students.
8)PROVIDE FUNDING FOR SYSTEM NAVIGATORS for Equity-Seeking students/parents/faculty
ALL BOARDS to provide funding for a Black-led organization such as PARSC or PoBC to act as System Navigator.
ALL BOARDS to develop a formal reporting process and procedure to report on and respond to incidents of racism, gender-based violence and 2SLGBTQ+-based violence in schools.
ALL BOARDS to provide targeted victims of violence with culturally appropriate therapy/counseling from a BIPOC therapist/counselor.
9)HOLD TEACHERS/STAFF ACCOUNTABLE
ALL BOARDS to involve Equity Department in situations involving race, gender or 2SLGBTQ+-based discrimination and report teachers to the Ontario College of Teachers when an investigation concludes a teacher engaged in racism, gender-based discrimination and/or 2SLGBTQ+ discrimination.
Acts of hatred and violence to be reported for the safety of all students and in order for the offender to be recommended for the proper screening, counselling and rehabilitation back into the school system. Anti-Oppression, Anti-Hate and Anti-Violence training must be part of the rehabilitation process for students and/or faculty who have exhibited these acts.
Students and/or faculty who commit acts of race-based, gender-based or 2SLGBTQ+-based violence or hatred to engage in screening, counseling and the following but not limited to:
10)HIRE STAFF FROM WITHIN EQUITY-SEEKING GROUPS
ALL BOARDS to implement hiring strategies of diverse staff and educators that clearly state “seeking diverse candidates” on job postings, increase the ratio of teachers from equity-seeking communities (based on targets set with the Equity Department) in every school and collect hiring, promotional, disciplinary and retention data on all staff.
Our Children Are Our Future. Let’s create an education system they do not have to recover from. Follow us and share to make real change.
Call to Action: Email Trustees and the Director of Education On October 26th, 2022 a member of PARSC made a delegation to the Simcoe County