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Message from the Director of Education and Board Chair
Message from the Director of Education and Board Chair

September 17, 2019

Recently, in a small number of schools some families received student agenda planners from their school. These planners, ordered from a print vendor, are used to support students with organization and communicate with teachers. Over the weekend, we learned that some of the school agendas had a cover with cartoon depictions of students, which perpetuates stereotypes and stigmatizes children from racialized backgrounds. While we appreciate the intent of the cover was positive, we are grateful for the students who had the courage to come forward to resolve this matter. 

Upon learning of the concerns, our Board took immediate steps to address the issue. Where possible, the covers will be replaced. Otherwise, new agendas have been ordered to replace these agendas and will be provided to affected families at no additional cost. Families who received the recalled agenda will receive a letter from their school informing them directly about the issue and the next steps in receiving their replacement agenda. Moving forward, all agenda covers will be vetted to ensure this does not happen again. 

As we evolve and deepen our understanding of equity, we are developing greater awareness and making decisions based on the realities and needs of the richly diverse communities we serve in York Region. Doing so enables us to see these images with new insight and put into action our commitment to creating safe and caring teaching and learning environments for all. This is a learning opportunity for both staff and students and we will ensure that teaching is a component of resolving this issue. 

We are sorry for the hurtful content of this agenda cover and thank you for your support and cooperation as we resolve the matter. Through our Multi-Year Strategic Priority, supported by the Director’s Action Plan, we are taking concrete steps to champion equity and inclusion in our Board.  As an integral part of our education community, we welcome collaboration and input from our parent and community members on this priority as well as others.  To ensure our Board continues to offer safe, welcoming and inclusive spaces for all, we encourage you to join us in our journey by sharing your thoughts and ideas with your local trustee or one of our staff members.


Sincerely,

Louise Sirisko                      Corrie McBain  
Director of Education           Board Chair​​

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