Changes coming to Mississauga schools following release of concerning report on anti-Black racism

 

The Peel District School Board (PDSB) has vowed to make a series of significant changes to combat racism—and anti-Black racism in particular—in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon schools. 

The pledge to implement a series of recommendations, which were recently put forth by the province, comes after the release of a damning report on racism in schools and at the board itself. 

The report was released after a formal review was launched by Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, in November 2019. The review, which was requested by the PDSB, was prompted by allegations of anti-Black racism and improper human resources practices. 

The final report contains myriad examples of how racism disproportionately impacts Black students, pointing out that Black students are suspended more frequently than students of other ethnic backgrounds. The report also found that school administrators are more likely to involve the police in incidents involving Black students, even when the incidents are not criminal in nature. 

Over the course of the review, Black students reportedly told reviewers that they feel they're held to a higher standard than students of other races. 

On March 13, Lecce submitted a letter to the board of trustees with 27 directions, as well as corresponding timelines and deliverables. The directions will, ideally, help the board combat racism at the school and board level by making changes to hiring practices and ensuring the needs of students of colour are supported. 

One directive requires that the PDSB develop and implement an annual equity accountability report card that will use race-based data to reveal how students of colour fare when it comes to expulsions, suspensions and graduation rates. 

The ministry has also directed the board to hire a third-party mediator to ensure cooperation among board members. 

The recommendations from the Ministry of Education were approved at a March 24 board meeting. 

The board says that effective immediately, trustees will stop participating on hiring, promotion and appointment panels, even for temporary or acting positions. 

This will not apply to the position of Director of Education, the board says.

The PDSB also says that trustees will retain the services of an external parliamentarian/governance expert to establish procedures and practices for "effective, respectful, and transparent governance." 

The board must retain an expert by April 17 and submit a progress report to the ministry by June 1. Reports will be submitted every 30 days from that point on. 

The PDSB also says it will establish a centralized applicant tracking and file management system and preserve all documentation relating to hiring, promotions and temporary appointments.

To read the full review, click here.

To read the full list of directives, click here

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