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New advocacy group launched to represent Black teachers at Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

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New advocacy group launched to represent Black teachers at Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

Today, (November 5), marks the official launch of a new advocacy group representing Black teachers at Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board called the Black Teachers Association of DPCDSB.

This association’s goal is to dismantle systemic anti-Black racism by developing and promoting strategies to eradicate inequities that exist for Black teachers and students.at DPCDSB and the two local OECTA union offices, the Dufferin-Peel Secondary Unit (DPSU) and Dufferin-Peel (OECTA) Elementary.

The Black Teachers Association of DPCDSB estimates that the number of Black teachers working at the Board is approximately two per cent, which is disproportionate to the self-reported 18 per cent of the student body that identified as Black in the 2018 DPCDSB School Climate Survey.

The Region boasts one of the highest immigrant populations in Canada and the Board manages 148 schools with over 90,000 students and roughly 5,000 teachers, making it an underrepresentation that contributes to the systemic disadvantages that Black educators and students experience on a daily basis.

“As a Dufferin-Peel alumni, I experienced systemic racism as a student and was disappointed to see it still existed when I returned as a teacher more than two decades later. Enough is enough, it is time to achieve equality for the Black community. We hope to bring about meaningful change that delivers equal treatment and opportunities for all staff and students,” said Michael Marshall, co-founder, The Black Teachers Association of DPCDSB.

The association has been engaging Black educators to identify key concerns from the community and establish goals since June.

Almost 50 Black teachers, approximately half of the estimated Black educator population in the Board, joined the association in less than 60 days; a response that underscores the desire to advocate for change.

These goals include a review of hiring practices to ensure staffing reflects the diversity of students, the collection and transparent reporting of race-based data to inform challenges faced by Black students at the DPCDSB and the immediate creation of a DPCDSB anti-Black racism advisory committee, fully funded by the Board and where Black educators, students and parents can contribute to the decision making and implementation process.

Additionally, they include a review of the Student Resource Officer (SRO) program and investigation into ways to improve the system around the involvement of the police force in DPCDSB schools and an immediate review of curriculum and its lack of representation of Black figures and issues (both current and historical); and the development and implementation of an in-depth plan to address these shortcomings.

“The Black Teachers Association of DPCDSB is dedicated to creating positive dialogue with the Board and the OECTA local units to bring equal treatment and opportunities to staff and students,” said Marshall.

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