Dear families, It has been a joy to welcome our students back to school. We have missed them, and whether they are joining their classrooms in person or remotely, we are so happy to see them and hope they have had a positive start to the school year.
We are deeply saddened by the news that again, unmarked graves have been found at the site of a former residential school in Canada. The remains of 751 people, mainly Indigenous children, have been identified at the site of Marieval Residential School in Saskatchewan. This is an ongoing reminder of the devastating legacy of residential schools in our country, and highlights our need to continue to address the ongoing trauma that Indigenous students, families, staff and communities face.
Yesterday, we were heartbroken to hear of a Muslim family that was targeted with a vehicle in London, Ontario. Our deepest condolences go to the family and all those grieving this act of terrorism and hate.
Over the weekend, we were heartbroken to see the news of the discovery of a mass grave of 215 children at the former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. This is a devastating reminder of not only the tragic legacy of residential schools in our country, but our need to continue to address the ongoing trauma that Indigenous students, families, staff and communities face. Our Director’s Action Plan commits us to interrogate the ongoing impact of colonialism, and Residential Schools were a dehumanizing embodiment of the Canadian colonial project.
Sadly, York Region District School Board has been subject to hate mail. It comes in different forms: email, social media and their messaging platforms and, sometimes, through traditional mail. Approximately four years ago, we started receiving hate mail that contained anti-Black racism and antisemitism. While no physical threats were contained in the messages, the level of racism was disturbing and we contacted York Regional Police (YRP), who opened an investigation.
Dear Families,As you may be aware, members of the York Region community have been deeply affected by the events taking place in India regarding COVID-19. Nothing prepares us for the news of a crisis like the one that is unfolding in India, especially one that affects children and youth.
During the pandemic, it has become increasingly clear how important it is for our families to be able to find important and up-to-date information. We are very excited this week to be launching our refreshed Board website. This new site better reflects our board and will make it easier for our community to find and access the information they are looking for. In redesigning the site, we continued to centre our families, including those who are underserved and underperforming. Our work was informed by feedback from the community, data and website design research.
On March 2, 2021, the York Region Region District School Board of Trustees voted to rename the former Vaughan Secondary School after Hodan Nalayeh, following a community consultation process.The renaming was initiated by Black community leaders, who brought the issue to the Board’s attention for action. We are thankful for their leadership, advocacy and their efforts.We also want to thank the students, families, staff and community members who shared their input throughout the consultation process.
Dear families, This year, we are doing many things differently in our schools to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and support the health and safety of our students, staff members and families. As we enter the colder months, we have also reviewed what it will look like when inclement weather days are declared and school transportation is cancelled.
Yesterday, several staff members in our Board received a message from the organization Parents of Black Children with a resource for families regarding progress reports. In an attempt to provide support, it was shared on a digital platform for our elementary virtual school families. In doing so, unfortunately, the message was shortened and did not contain the full message from the organization. While the intent was supportive, we acknowledge this may have caused hurt and confusion, and for that impact we are sorry.