More than 12,000 school staff in all 213 York Region District School Board schools participated in mandatory equity training focused on anti-Black racism on the October 21 professional development day.
The training was created to increase staff understanding of:
- Anti-Black racism and the impact of anti-Black racism on the well-being and achievement of students.
- Best practices to address incidents of anti-Black racism and prevent recurrences.
- Historical and systemic knowledge gaps as they relate to anti-Black racism.
- Trends, contexts and patterns of anti-Black racism.
- Measures to enhance equity and prevent discrimination and harassment.
- Best practices to acknowledge and honour Black student experiences.
“Our Board is committed to championing equity and inclusivity with a specific focus on addressing anti-Black racism and other forms of hate,” said Louise Sirisko, Director of Education. “We continue to work to ensure that our schools and workplaces are safe and welcoming for all our students, families and staff members.”
“Anti-Black racism is the most common type of race and ethnicity related hate crime and, unfortunately, our schools, students, families and staff are not immune to its effects,” said Clayton LaTouche, Associate Director of Education and Co-Chair of the Anti-Black Racism Steering Committee. “How we address this and all forms of hate, both as a school system and society, is critical in our work to better meet the needs of our underserved and underperforming students.”
“We never want our students to experience hate or hate-related violence of any kind, including violence that is based on who our students are, their social identity. This is why we are proactively working to identify and provide training to our staff,” said Cecil Roach, Coordinating Superintendent of Education, Indigenous Education and Equity and Co-Chair of the Anti-Black Racism Steering Committee. “This training has not been done in isolation. We have provided training on anti-Black racism in the past and will continue to provide training and support to schools on an ongoing basis.”
The Board has a robust strategy to address incidents of anti-Black racism and is in the process of implementing these strategies to combat hate. The Board has also established two system-level committees – the Anti-Black Racism Steering Committee and Advisory Committee – both of which are comprised of community and academic leaders supporting the Board with advice, solutions and critical feedback to ensure Black youth and staff members are properly supported.