The Upper Grand District School Board strives to provide and maintain a learning and working environment of tolerance, fairness, justice and equality for all students, staff and those within the community it serves, while recognizing and embracing diversity of race, colour, creed, or ethnicity. The Board, therefore, condemns any expression of racial, religious or ethnic bias in any form by its students, staff or trustees. That’s why the Board passed a policy in 1999 to protect students and employees against racial and ethnocultural harassment.
The Upper Grand District School Board is committed to eliminating racial and ethnocultural biases in Board policies, guidelines and day-to-day practices. The Board supports the Multiculturalism Policy of Canada, the Ontario Human Rights Code and the anti-racist education goals of the Ministry of Education. Why is there a need for an Antiracism and Ethnocultural Equity Policy? All persons involved in any activity within the Board have a right to work and learn in an environment free from racial discrimination and prejudice.
Note: AREE is an abbreviation of Antiracism and Ethnocultural Equity.
What does the policy cover?
- personnel policies and practices
- staff development
- harassment and discrimination
- school environment
- parent services
- assessment and placement of students
- community relations
- guidance and counseling
To whom does the policy apply?
- all students registered in the Board’s schools and programs
- all employees, volunteers and trustees of the Upper Grand District School Boar
What is a racial/ethnic incident?
It is any verbal, written or physical “put down” which ridicules, degrades, or expresses hatred based on race, ethnic group, skin colour, language, dress or religion.
These may include:
- threats, abuse, or assault
- racial/ethnocultural insults or slurs meant to demean or degrade
- exclusion because of one’s race or ethnic background
- the production or distribution of hate literature using any media form, including the electronic media
What is harassment?
“Harassment is the repeated annoyance or bullying of an individual or individuals.” – Procedures Manual, Free Schools Policy, Upper Grand District School Board,1999
Harassment can occur in an educational community if:
- a student harasses another student
- a student harasses a Board employee
- a Board employee harasses a student
- a Board employee harasses another Board employee
- a parent/community member harasses or is harassed by a student or a Board employee
What do you do if you witness a racial incident?
It is the responsibility of all Board employees and students who witness or receive reports of racial/ethnocultural harassment to immediately report the incident(s) to the appropriate person in authority. If you are present when racist slurs or racist jokes are told, take time to say you disapprove. You may wish to mention the Board’s policy.
What do you do if you receive a report of harassment from a victim?
As a student:
- tell a person in authority about the incident
As a parent:
- talk to your child and get details of the incident.
- reassure your child that he or she is not to blame for the incident
- contact the Principal at your child’s school and explain the situation
As a non-teaching employee:
- advise the individual(s) of the Board’s policy
- inform the appropriate Superintendent
What do you do if you are harassed?
If you are harassed about your skin colour, racial or cultural origin, name, accent, dress or religion:
- tell someone about the incident(s) i.e. teacher, parent, principal, immediate supervisor, Director of Education
- make a written record of the incident, so that it will be easier for you to recall details at a later date
You may call the Ontario Human Rights commission (1-800-263-9525) if the harassment takes place off school property. If you choose to say anything to the offender, you may say firmly: “I do not like what you are saying and I want it to stop now.” Let the offender know that the Board of Education has a policy that does not tolerate harassing remarks.
As a teaching employee:
- Advise the individuals of the Board’s policy
- Report the situation immediately to your Principal
- Remember that a negative situation can be turned into a positive learning experience
- Encourage students who witness or are involved in the incident to discuss it
- Assist students to develop a wide range of appropriate responses to incidents
- Ask your school AREE representative or Principal to provide you with current materials for use in your class room
- Do not avoid, deny the issue, or accept excuses from those involved.
As a Principal:
- Meet with those involved and advise them of the Board’s policy
- try to discover the real cause of the incident
- Provide an open and positive atmosphere; all incidents should be treated as an opportunity to raise the awareness of good intercultural relations
- Make sure those involved are aware of the negative effects these incidents produce
- Make an appropriate record of the incident
- Consider adding on-going training in equity issues to your staff goals
- Do not deny the issue, or accept excuses from those involved.
NOTE: A referral by an individual to the Ontario Human Rights Commission supercedes disciplinary actions governed by the Ontario Education Act.
Confidentially must be maintained at all times.
REMEMBER – Fighting racism is everyone’s business.
ALWAYS Consider the IMPACT on the receiver of the comment or action, rather than the INTENT of the sender.