As the first school board in Ontario to create an anti-sex trafficking protocol, York Region District School Board is now sharing resources with other school boards across the province.
In summer 2021, the Ontario government announced a Policy Framework for School Board Anti-Sex Trafficking Protocols and recognized York Region District School Board as the only school board in the province at the time with a protocol to help prevent and respond to sex trafficking.
YRSDB began working with community partners in the 2017-2018 school year to develop training, resources and curriculum to address sex-trafficking. Since then:
- The board has formed several multi-disciplinary working and advisory groups that include community partners to help guide the work.
- A sex trafficking response protocol and quick guide have been developed, along with scripts to support student disclosures or suspicions to administrators and educators.
- Training has been provided to all vice-principals and principals. Training modules have been shared with school staff and specific training provided to school staff who work with students who are most vulnerable, including guidance counsellors, social workers and more.
- Family and community presentations have been offered to inform families and help them understand what to look for and how to respond. In addition, resources and information are available for families on the Board website.
- Student resources and curriculum for Grade 7-12 students have been developed and YRDSB is currently planning secondary school presentations.
“We want to thank our community partners for identifying a need, sharing information and working with us to develop a coordinated and sensitive approach to protecting our students,” said Board Chair Allan Tam.
“We were so pleased that the research and work we did in collaboration with community partners could be used to inform the Ministry’s framework, and to support the work of our colleagues in other boards. While they may have different contexts, it is important that we collaborate and share knowledge to protect our students and vulnerable populations, and that we do so in a way that is centred around equity and anti-oppression,” said Director of Education Louise Sirisko.
YRDSB is now sharing resources and information with other school boards to support them in meeting Ministry of Education requirements to develop an anti-sex trafficking protocol.
The work to develop the protocol in YRDSB was supported by Bridgenorth, Covenant House, 360kids, Women’s Support Network, Aura Freedom, U R Home and York Regional Police.
York Region District School Board is the third largest school district in Ontario with over 125,000 students in 180 elementary schools and 33 secondary schools. York Region students consistently perform above average in provincial testing and the Board is one of the top achievers in Ontario. For more information about the York Region District School Board, please visit the Boardwebsiteand follow YRDSB onTwitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.-30-
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