Earlier this year School District 69 (Qualicum) released a public statement regarding their commitment to social justice and have now passed a motion to establish a committee.
In the statement released the summer, it read “we absolutely support movements that are currently contributing to a more just Canadian society… Discrimination based on any factor reduces individual potential and does not contribute to the well-being our of community.”
At the most recent SD69 school board meeting, trustee Elaine Young brought forth the motion to create a social justice committee to foster a “more socially just school district and society.”
The recommendation for the school board was to establish a working group, with membership from all parts of the community, including students, parents, school district employees and community members, to develop a collaborative plan. This group would be co-chaired by two school trustees, with support of senior management. They would also provide regular reports to the regular school board meetings.
Young referred to an article she read, called ‘The Importance of Fostering Dialogue’ where it stated “the mandate of the committee is to serve as a point of contact and a place of dialogue between stakeholders in order to identify and address the systemic barriers that can hinder the success, well-being and full development of students and staff. The committee can therefore identify issues recommend measures and offer recommendations to improve the effectiveness of equity, accessibility, inclusion and anti-oppression measures undertaken by the school board.”
Young said that statement encapsulated what she saw as the mandate for this committee.
Chairperson Eve Flynn said there is “a ton” of research to be done and also cautioned what they would be asking for from senior staff.
“We best look around to see what is being done elsewhere, so that we don’t possibly take away from initiatives that we need to spend our energies on locally,” said Flynn.
Superintendent Dr. Kevin Elder said while he believed it was an incredibly important cause, he too cautioned the board with timing.
“I would urge the board to find the right time to take the first step… I will happily embrace the project if it launches tomorrow, but I’m concerned about the capacity of the system to embrace anything new beyond what it’s doing already.”
All school board trustees voted in favour of the motion as it stands.