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Toronto District School Board

Reaffirming TDSB Support of 2SLGBTQ+ Communities

Categories: Happenings @tdsb News

The end of the school year is a time to celebrate the achievements of our students and staff. As the school year draws to a close, we would like to thank you all for the incredible commitment that you demonstrate to our collective work. We wish you all a restful and fun summer. To the thousands of students who are continuing their learning in our summer programs, we wish you all the very best.

June also marks the end of Pride month at the TDSB and around the world. It has been a month filled with many joyful events and experiences and also a time of deep reflection on how we can do better, as we recognize diversity and raise awareness among all students and staff about the rich culture and history of 2SLGBTQ+ communities. Beyond the month of June, each and every day and across all parts of the Board, TDSB has a duty to create spaces which reflect the lived experiences, histories and perspectives of 2SLGBTQ+ communities.

This work is particularly important at this time given the increasing levels of homophobia, transphobia and biphobia that we are seeing in our communities and schools. The recent hate-motivated incident at the University of Waterloo reminds us of the importance of continuing to strengthen our resolve to achieve equity, affirm students of all identities, and provide safe places for all to work and learn. We will be flying the Pride flag until the end of July in solidarity with the University of Waterloo, 2SLGBTQ+ communities and learners everywhere.

Harassment, discrimination and hate have no place in TDSB. In our schools, we promote learning related to inclusion and belonging in support of human rights.

“The Ontario Human Rights Code (Code) protects everyone from discrimination and harassment based on numerous grounds, including disability, gender identity and expression, race, and religion. In schools, following the Code means that every student has the right to a learning environment free from discrimination, harassment, or other expressions of hatred — an environment where everyone feels safe to learn, thrive, and be themselves”. - (OHRC, Statement on Anti-Hate, June 2023).

Learning to support human rights is vital to the Board’s efforts to promote diverse, safe, welcoming and inclusive learning and working environments where students and staff can do their best work. This is done to make sure that all individuals regardless of identity are treated with dignity and respect and enjoy access to education without discrimination.

TDSB must and will continue to engage and welcome diverse gender identities and, to support the protection and promotion of the human rights of 2SLGBTQ+ students and staff in all schools and workplaces. The Board’s Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Strategy aims to be responsive to the voices of both internal and external communities by developing customized action plans to address specific issues including those related to 2SLGBTQ+ identities. Communities have a role to play in promoting safe, inclusive and welcoming environments for all, and will have the opportunity to collaborate directly with staff on the creation of these plans. This work will begin in the fall of 2023.

This fall, members of our Senior Team, as well as school administrators, will continue the important learning that is necessary for us to be able to lead more effectively in relation to 2SLGBTQ+ students, staff, families and communities. This is another step towards making sure that every student and staff member feels a sense of belonging in our schools.

To our 2SLGBTQ+ students, staff and families we say this: we support you, we stand with you and we will continue to work as hard as we can to make TDSB schools and workplaces safe, welcoming and affirming places where you feel seen and heard every day.

Finally, thank you to all who joined the TDSB Pride Parade contingent last weekend. Your incredible energy and positive spirit were tremendously uplifting and we look forward to doing it again next year in an even bigger and better way. Great job everyone! Thank you!

Have a great summer.

Colleen Russell-Rawlins
Director of Education

Audley Salmon
Associate Director

Louise Sirisko
Associate Director

Stacey Zucker
Associate Director

Leola Pon
Associate Director