Trustee motions support anti-racism movement

Posted On Wednesday June 24, 2020

The following motions were carried at the June 23, 2020 meeting of the Thames Valley District School Board:

MOTION 1 – Moved by Trustee Rahman                  Seconded by Trustee Skinner
WHEREAS: We the Board of Trustees have heard from the community through the June 6th 2020, rally in Victoria Park, demonstrations in other TVDSB communities and protests at the Board office that real action is needed on anti-black racism, racism in schools, equitable hiring practices and reflective curriculum.

WHEREAS: The deaths of Black people are a result of a network of oppressive institutions in which the education system plays a role;

WHEREAS: There are a number of policies that focus on equity and inclusion at TVDSB, including the Strategic Plan and the Board is committed to the removal of systemic barriers to improve student learning, close achievement gaps, and to ensure equitable opportunities for students and staff;

WHEREAS: The Minister has the authority to make regulations governing the hiring practices for teachers.

BE IT RESOLVED THAT: TVDSB develop an equity action plan that includes anti-black racism/anti-racism strategy. That the board develop this strategy through extensive consultation. That the strategy include specific objectives tied to actions, measurable outcomes and timelines for meeting those objectives include provisions for engaging with students, parents/guardians, and other stakeholders. Include provisions for public reporting on progress towards achieving outcomes in the strategy on a monthly basis. That the board hear all recommendations no later than June 2021;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: The board establish an equity and inclusivity advisory committee which includes students, community members, trustees, administration and parents/guardians. The majority of the committee should be community members tasked to help create the equity action plan. That the committee is representative of the demographics and intersectionality’s of the Board’s student body. That the committee be consulted with, in a meaningful way, on policies, programs and initiatives such as culturally relevant resources, dress codes, disciplinary policies and procedures etc.;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: TVDSB explore the practice of collecting disaggregate data by school, grade, race, language, disability, sex, gender, and socioeconomic status and report back to the board on any issues or concerns with doing so. Disaggregated data could be used to put a critical lens on suspension, expulsion and graduation rates, representation in academic, applied and locally developed credit courses, representation in special education, credit accumulation and student absenteeism. This data could be used to assess, evaluate and report on progress towards improving outcomes for all students;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: TVDSB, commit to exploring equity training including anti-racism and anti-oppression training for Trustees, administrators, teachers, staff and students and all statutory committees of the Board;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: The Policy working committee, review the POLICE/SCHOOL BOARD PROTOCOL IN THE 2020/21 School year;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: TVDSB engage in extensive consultation with students, staff, community members, trustees and parents/guardians regarding the School Resource Officers (SROs) program. That the consultation probes the feelings and experiences of students in relationship to SROs and police presence in our schools. That staff prepare an accountability report for Trustees and the community in consultation with Police services across Thames Valley on the nature of the role of School Resource Officers, include the results of the survey and recommendations moving forward by December 2020;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: The Chair of the Board, in collaboration with the Board of Trustees, the mover and seconder of the motion and staff, send a letter to the Minister requesting the development of the Policy and Program Memorandum (PPM) on equity and diversity in hiring practices as requested by OPSBA. That the Chair communicate in the letter to the Minister support for OBSPA’s position to remove Regulation 274/12 as it relates to increasing diversity/inclusivity, credentials and mobility. So that learners can see themselves reflected in the different positions of leadership in our schools;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: The Chair of the Board, in collaboration with the Board of Trustees, the mover and seconder of the motion and staff, send a letter to the Minister of Education encouraging the revision of the curriculum to better incorporate Black history and Indigenous histories. We ask that the Government honour the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. To collaborate with Survivors, Aboriginal peoples, and educators to continue with curriculum revisions across subjects, grades and courses, to strengthen Indigenous content and learning.

MOTION 2 – Moved by Trustee Antone                 Seconded by Trustee Smith
WHEREAS Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, Oneida Nation of the Thames and Munsee-Delaware Nation stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement;

WHEREAS the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) states in part “Recognizing in particular the right of indigenous families and communities to retain shared responsibility for the upbringing, training, education and well-being of their children, consistent with the rights of the child…

Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin or identity.”

WHEREAS the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action states in part “We call upon the federal government to develop with Aboriginal groups a joint strategy to eliminate education and employment gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.”

WHEREAS TVDSB and CMO (Chippewa Muncey-Delaware Oneida) have long standing Tuition/Education Service agreements in place and where the First Nations Advisory Committee has been asking the Board for accountability and data regarding the success of the First Nation Students;

WHEREAS decades of racism endured by Indigenous students and most recently the incident at Saunders Secondary School in the Fall of 2019 involving racial activities was not addressed by way of a formal report to the CMO communities TVDSB.

WHEREAS the TVDSB has autonomy to make regulations governing the hiring practices for teachers.

WHEREAS the CMO communities support a letter to the Minister regarding SRO’s, curriculum and the development of the Policy and Program Memorandum on equity and diversity in hiring practices as requested by OPSBA.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT CMO community representatives, the Indigenous Lead and the Indigenous Trustee need be involved in intentional principal placement in schools with Indigenous populated students and system principal placement through new mechanisms;

BE IT FINALLY RESOVED THAT the TVDSB establish an Indigenous led task force during the 2020-2021 school year that will be mandated to work on, but not limited to:
1. Creating an ombudsman for Indigenous families to hear complaints and implement and mentor staff on restorative practices.
2. An Indigenous Superintendent or someone with extensive knowledge on Indigenous culture, have a seat at decision-making tables per Ministry memorandum dated June 24, 2016.

Recommendations of the task force will be brought to the TVDSB Board of Trustees approval.