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September 19th, 2023
The Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) is committed to upholding the human rights of all those we serve.
We are aware of the planned protests on Wednesday, September 20, 2023. We are concerned about the harm it may cause members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ and Muslim communities.
Unfortunately, underlying some of the motivations behind these demonstrations are hate and inaccuracies about what is happening in schools. We continue to focus on creating inclusive, safe spaces, and ensure the well-being of all students and staff that affirm the lived experiences and identities of students and families, especially those most marginalized.
We are committed to creating and maintaining identity-affirming learning and working environments. Ones where everyone feels safe and experiences a sense of belonging. All identities and abilities are honoured at the WRDSB.
The WRDSB is governed by multiple pieces of guiding legislation including:
As a secular, public education system, we do not teach children what to believe. However, we do teach that there are many ways that people define and express their identities. All are worthy of respect.
The curriculum taught in WRDSB schools is aligned with and follows the directions of the Ministry of Education.
Centering students is at the heart of our Strategic Plan. For us to do so we must work in partnership with families, parents, caregivers and the community to promote healthy and inclusive schools. We understand there are different religious and creed-based beliefs and we recognize the rights of families to teach and practice their faith. As guided by the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC), we are committed to upholding religious and creed-based rights of individuals without compromising the rights and dignity of others.
The impact the September 20 demonstrations may have on 2SLGBTQIA+ students, staff and families is worrying. This concern is further amplified, as this population of students is at higher risk of suffering depression and have higher rates of suicide. If you have concern about your child’s mental health or well-being, please reach out to your school administrator.
We have also heard from some members of our community that they are concerned that the protests may increase acts of hate in the region. To all students and families: we are listening and want to reassure you that we denounce all forms of hate, including:
We will continue to work towards creating the conditions for learning that ensures all students see themselves reflected and are able to rise to their highest potential.
If you have specific concerns about practices that you believe are inconsistent with our goals of being an inclusive organization with a human rights culture, please speak to your child’s teacher or school principal. We want to support you and help to address your concerns:
We are all in relationship with one another. By working together with compassion and recognizing our shared humanity, it is possible for us to build a better school system where all children belong and where their human rights are upheld. We look forward to a future of togetherness alongside community that ensures the success, safety and belonging of all students and learning spaces.
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