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PROMOTING EQUITY FOR BLACK STUDENTS

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PROMOTING EQUITY FOR BLACK STUDENTS IN ONTARIO'S EDUCATION SYSTEM
By: Patricia Eno Falope
"Waterloo Catholic school board called police on 4-year-old [Black] child." 1

"Three months after an education ministry review raised concerns of lslamophobia in Peel schools and some two weeks after the board placed a school principal on leave for alleged "xenophobic and racist" comments, students, teachers and parents have come forward to share their experiences. Their words paint an image of lslamophobia practised with impunity." 2

"Race was a factor in handcuffing of 6-year-old black girl in Mississauga school, [Ontario Human Rights] tribunal says." 3

"About 95 per cent of [Black] student respondents from the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) and 76 per cent of Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board (HWCDSB) student respondents reported experiencing racism in school." 4
The evidence of anti-Black racism and lslamophobia in Ontario's education system is overwhelming. Despite the abundance of data, media reports, mandated investigations with published findings, and grudging apologies with lip-service promises to do better from exposed school boards, not much has changed. Black students continue to be criminalized, suffer inequities which include unjust and overly harsh punishment, high suspension and expulsion rates, lack of protection from bullying and racial slurs within their schools. The continued suffering of students and their families, is untenable, and the damaging impact of the abuse, far-reaching.

This inaugural conference by the African Canadian Social Development Council (ACSDC) aims to bring together the Black African community and its allies, to engage in the critical conversation around achieving equity and justice in the education of Black students in Ontario. The conference will provide opportunities for stakeholders to understand the insidiousness of anti-Black racism and lslamophobia, unmask the daily form of these abuses, identify existing gaps that allow the continued perpetration of injustices, and develop action plans that promote accountability and education systems strengthening.

1 Duhatschek, P. (2022) CBC Kitchener-Waterloo News. httos://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/waterloo-catholic-board-called-police-child-1.6362341
2 Paradkhar, S. (2020). Students, teachers, parents feel the sting of Islamophobia in Peel schools. They share their stories. https://www.thestar.com/opinion/star-columnists/2020/06/16/students-teachers-parents-feel-the-sting-of-islamophobia-in-peel-schools-they-share-their-stories.html
3 CBC Toronto News (2020). https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/human-rights-tribunal-peel-police-girl-handcuffed-1.5483456
4 Poleski, L. (2021). Report on Black Students' experience of racism in Hamilton schools call for action. https://globalnews.ca/news/8364986/report-black-students-experience-racism-hamilton-schools/

It is time for an Ontario education blueprint that protects the rights of all Black students to bent the same positive and nurturing educational journeys experienced by their non-racialized count This is critical for the wellbeing of our Black children, families, communities, and the overall strength of Ontario's future.
ACSDC MEMBER ORGINIZATION
Early Childhood Development Initiative (ECDI) is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting optimal early childhood development in West Africa. ...

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Patricia Eno Falope
Patricia Eno Falope CEO, Early Childhood Development Initiative
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