Mississauga, Brampton Catholic students asked by school board to help fight systemic racism

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Published November 30, 2021 at 3:11 pm

More than 76,000 Catholic students in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon are being asked to complete a detailed census to help school board officials identify and address systemic racism and discrimination. 

The online census, being made available to the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board’s 45,000 elementary school students and 31,500 high school pupils, also seeks to help the Board improve educational outcomes for students, officials say.  

Among other things, students are asked to provide information related to language first spoken, ethnicity, race, religious affiliation, gender identity, sexual orientation, disabilities and socio-economic status.  

The Board, which wants to collect the information from all kindergarten to Grade 12 students by the end of December, says it is required by the provincial government to have students complete the census. 

Students in grades 4-12 will complete the census online during class, with staff available to provide support.  

For kindergarten to Grade 3 pupils, and others who need help to answer the questions, their parents or guardians will complete the census for them. 

Officials say participation is voluntary and although the information is kept confidential, the census is not anonymous. Additionally, students can skip items they don’t wish to answer. 

The student census will also collect information about student social identities and ask them about their experiences at school including their sense of belonging, intellectual engagement and motivation to learn, participation in activities, any experiences of exclusion and emotional state.  

School Board officials say the information will allow them to identify and address disproportionality and disparity in student experiences and outcomes.  

“Disproportionality and disparity are indicators of systemic racism and discrimination,” Board officials say via an online description of the undertaking. “Finding these problems is the first step to dismantling them.” 

All Ontario school districts must collect and report publicly, by January 2023, identity-based data to identify and address systemic racism and discrimination in student experiences and outcomes, according to the Board. 

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