OCDSB Statement: Schools are places of learning

OCDSB Statement: Schools are places of learning
Posted on 09/22/2023
OCDSB Statement: Schools are places of learning

On Wednesday, September 20, 2023, rallies were held across the country and on Parliament Hill “against how schools teach gender ideology”. This has become very divisive and commonly pits claims for parental rights, protection of children, and indoctrination against claims of hate, transphobia, and safety. These demonstrations foster a culture of hate and fear.

What is unfortunate is that the demonstrations and counter demonstrations do not lead to conversation. They do not generate critical thinking, dialogue, or discussion. There is no learning from each other, there is little respect, acceptance or empathy. 

Schools are places of learning. We have a responsibility to provide an education to all students in a safe, caring, and welcoming environment. We stand unequivocally with the 2SLGBTQ+ community who we know are facing rising discrimination and violence. Schools are not teaching children to question their gender; schools do not prescribe or give puberty blockers; schools do not encourage gender nonconformity. Schools do allow students to identify the pronouns they prefer, schools offer gender neutral washrooms, schools have clubs and resources to support students that identify as 2SLBGTQ+ and ensure they feel welcome and safe at school.

In a statement in June, the Ontario Human Rights Commission said, “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. It is essential that all children — including, 2SLGBTQIA+ children, children with disabilities, Black children, Indigenous children, Jewish children and Muslim children, for instance — feel that their school is a place of inclusion, belonging, and support.”

It’s clear there is more learning to do. That is true for us as individuals and as institutions, including the OCDSB. We are a learning organization and will continue to work with community leaders to understand how we can work together for all students to be respected for who they are and to learn and grow in welcoming and safe spaces. This will be done within the commitments of our Human Rights Policy and grounded in our legal requirements under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

At OCDSB, students of various identities can access a range of supports through their school admin or guidance counsellor. Additional community resources for students, families and staff can be found on our website.

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