Pi News –
The Waterloo Region School Board is hearing a plea to revise its human rights policy to include training against Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian racism.
Delegates at Tuesday night’s board meeting said students in the classroom do not feel safe and that the board needs to be proactive in addressing their concerns in order to build better relationships with teachers and administration. .
“If we truly want to foster an anti-oppression, anti-racist, and inclusive culture at WRDSB where all students feel seen, heard, and respected, we need staff and administration to learn how to combat anti-Palestinian racism.” ‘must be done,’ said one delegate. ‘We need to empower students and their learning by providing them with the guidance and tools to have the difficult conversations.’
The school board made several updates to the policy at Tuesday’s meeting. They also pointed to an email sent in December 2023 to students in seventh grade and above to explain the process by which they could be subjected to harassment or racism.
“Examining a student on a topic like this doesn’t necessarily lead to a political debate,” said another delegate.
Delegates took to the podium during the meeting to talk about how the ongoing war in Gaza has affected them.
“I don’t feel supported or comfortable by the administration or the teachers at my school,” said another delegate. “I was punished and targeted for expressing myself.”
Some board members acknowledged that they need to do a better job of making parents and students aware that the school board has tools to address human rights.