June 18, 2020
Peel board passes motion requesting appointment of Supervisor by the Minister of Education
Last evening, the Board of Trustees passed a motion of great significance. Recognizing that "anti-Black racism is a real and continuing problem in the Peel District School Board," they unanimously asked the Minister of Education for help.
The motion that was passed reads as follows:
Whereas, anti-Black racism is a real and continuing problem in the Peel District School Board that requires not just urgent action, but a united sense of purpose at the board-level that is currently lacking; and
Whereas, action in tackling the anti-Black racism and other forms of hate and discrimination must occur at the same time the Peel District School Board prepares for the expected return of students in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic, which itself promises an unprecedented organizational challenge; and
Whereas, we must always put the interests of our students and staff first; now, therefore be it resolved:
1. That the Peel District School Board respectfully requests:
a) Ontario's Minister of Education to exercise his power under 230.3(2) of the Education Act to request the Lieutenant Governor in Council vest in the Ministry of Education control over the administration of the affairs of the Peel District School Board;
b) The Minister appoint and delegate all needed authorities to a Supervisor to assist the Peel District School Board, our Director of Education, senior leadership team and staff at all levels of the organization in implementing the fundamental changes needed to ensure a discrimination-free and safe learning and working environment; and
c) The Supervisor remain in place, at a minimum, through December 31st 2020.
2. That the Peel District School Board offer its full cooperation to the Minister and any Supervisor that may be named by him to assist in the ongoing identification and implementation of those fundamental changes.
"It is the Board's hope that ministry assistance will help ensure all students and staff face a new and better reality when schools reopen in the new school year," says Brad MacDonald, Chair of the Board. "Should the Minister accept the Board's request to appoint a Supervisor, our Board of Trustees and the senior leadership team is committed to providing our full cooperation to ensure the fundamental changes are implemented, and I would expect the same from all staff."
Notes Vice-Chair of the Board David Green, "Let there be no mistake. With this motion, we as a Board are not walking away from our responsibilities to eliminate anti-Black racism in our schools; we are bringing in reinforcements to tackle it together."
On June 8, 2020, the Minister provided direction to the Peel District School Board that requires us to provide the Minister with a plan to address the key findings in Arleen Huggins' investigation report. Unfortunately, we are not able to satisfy all of the June 8, 2020, directives.
On June 15, 2020, Director of Education Peter Joshua announced Dr. Avis Glaze's role as special consultant and impartial critical advisor to help move the board's necessary work forward to eliminate anti-Black racism and other forms of discrimination, and to improve achievement and well-being for students and staff. Dr. Glaze considers it necessary to take time to review all reports and Ministry directives before engaging in a formal process with the Board. The scope of the work will be largely determined as we move forward with the Ministry directions, following our submission of a report to the Minister on June 22, 2020.
Being cognizant of the recommendations already in place, it is the board's firm commitment to:
"In the Minister's letter to the Board on June 8, 2020, he made it clear that we must take a substantive and purposeful approach to the directives, and not simply a technical one," says Director Joshua. "We know that we need assistance to ensure that our approach meets Ministry requirements, particularly focused on the needs of Black students and other students who have been marginalized and underserved. We must create a more harmonious, productive and effective school district. We are fully aware that we need the expertise necessary to help guide our next steps."
- develop strong, respectful, collaborative relationships with diverse communities, particularly our Black communities
- establish a comprehensive plan and action to consult with these community groups
- establish an accountability framework to demonstrate progress towards measurable outcomes
- develop and execute a Strategic Equity Action Plan to address and work at eliminating all forms of oppression, systemic discrimination and anti-Black racism across the board
- establish a robust equity department, strong connections to equity work across other departments and a structure to address race relations on an ongoing basis