Local MPP fighting to promote racial equity in Ontario schools
Kitchener-Centre MPP Laura Mae Lindo introduced a private members bill Thursday in a move to fight systemic racism in Ontario’s schools and post-secondary institutions.
“When I speak to racialized students at all levels, I'm often told about stories about harsher discipline. Rather than treating people with care and compassion, discipline is quite violent and traumatizing, sometimes pushing them out of the school system completely,” said Lindo during a press conference Thursday morning. “So my hope is this bill will provide systemic solutions."
The Racial Equity in System Act is said to provide appropriate language and ministry oversight to ensure there are equity strategies in Ontario’s public schools, colleges and universities to keep people safe.
Lindo’s private member’s bill sets out to:
- Create clear definitions of terms such as 'racism,' 'anti-racism,' and 'racial equity' in the law.
- Require all school boards and post-secondary institutions to create racial equity plans.
- Mandate racial equity education through professional development training.
- Provide more resources for students, teachers and staff who have been targeted, witnessed and/or have engaged in racist behaviours.
- Establish penalties for those who have engaged in and/or perpetuated racism in educational institutions.
Equity and Inclusion officer for the Waterloo Region District School Board, Teneile Warren, joined Lindo during her announcement, and backs the bill.
“[It] is important to everyone. It will address anti-Black racism, anti-Asian racism, anti-ethnic disparities, antisemitism. And it clears a pathway that will support the educators underground that are doing the training,” said Warren.
Lindo said her bill favours a move away from diversity training and toward anti-racism training.