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Halton Catholic school board to run equity audit

HCDSB is inviting all Black students in grades 7-12 and their families to participate in two town hall events next month
Halton Catholic District School Board office, Burlington.

The Halton Catholic District School Board (HCDSB) will be conducting an "equity audit" of its operations with the intention of developing an anti-Black racism (ABR) strategic plan.

In a letter to all parents signed by Director John Klein, the HCDSB said the audit will be conducted by law firm Koskie Minsky and will "examine, identify and make recommendations to dismantle systemic discrimination."

As part of the work, the board is inviting all Black students and their families and Black staff to attend two town hall events in March.

"The purpose of these town halls is to gather feedback from members of the Black community within the HCDSB school system," the letter to parents said. "Specifically, we will be seeking feedback from Black students, families and staff about their experiences within our school system, and asking them to share suggestions for dismantling systemic anti-Black racism within the school district. 

"Participants who attend the in-person Town Halls will be invited to engage in roundtable discussions, guided by a series of questions. A representative from Koskie Minsky will facilitate the discussions, and a note taker will record all responses. The feedback gathered will inform and help guide the development of the ABR Strategic Plan." 

According to the letter, the moves are part of "ongoing efforts to build more respectful, equitable, and inclusive school communities."

Koskie Minsky is described by the school board as "an experienced, third-party law firm, specializing in human rights, employment law, equity audits and workplace investigations". 

The ABR strategic plan is hoped to outline additional steps and other resources for the school board to "dismantle anti-Black racism and work towards system equity for Black students and staff".

The two town halls, which will be facilitated by Koskie Minsky representatives "with lived experience and/or deep understanding of human rights, equity, and systemic discrimination" are planned for:

  • Monday, March 6, 2023, from 6:30 – 8 p.m. at St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Secondary School in Oakville
  • Thursday, March 9, 2023, from 6:30 – 8 p.m. at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Secondary School in Milton

A third, virtual town hall is also planned although a date has yet to be set.

Those wishing to attend are ask to register using online registration form

HCDSB faced allegations of systemic anti-Black racism last year when the Black Teachers Association of HCDSB brought a number of issues to the board in June.

Currently an HCDSB principal is facing a disciplinary hearing before the Ontario College of Teachers in relation to racial incidents that allegedly occurred between 2016 and 2020.

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Tania Theriault

About the Author: Tania Theriault

Tania is a print and broadcast journalist with over 15 years experience who has recently returned to Canada and is keen to learn all there is to know about Burlington and its welcoming people
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