The College's latest advisory and AQ guidelines address anti-Black racism in learning environments.
by Dr. Derek Haime, OCT
Photo: Kenora Catholic District School Board
"Privilege is invisible to those who have it. It is a luxury, I will say to the white people sitting in this room, not to have to think about race every split second of our lives. Privilege is invisible to those who have it."
— Author and sociologist Michael Kimmel
The protests against racial injustice that took hold after George Floyd's death in 2020 prompted many of us to once again confront our own privilege and what needs to be done to dismantle racism, both as individuals and as a collective.
The Ontario College of Teachers has an ongoing and long-standing commitment to anti-oppression, equity and inclusion. Our work to eradicate injustice in the province's education system addresses all forms of discriminatory behaviour, including anti-Black racism.
Last November, the Ontario College of Teachers Act was updated by the government to enable the College to recognize hatred as a form of professional misconduct. This applies to conduct and/or remarks made to anyone inside or outside the classroom, on duty or off, and via electronic means. Allegations of hatred will be subject to the College's established practice of investigation and, if warranted, public hearing and resolution.
With this edition of the magazine, you'll find the College's latest advisory, Professional Advisory on Anti-Black Racism, authored by Amorell Saunders N'Daw, a journalist and partner at KBRS, where she is also the equity, diversity and inclusion lead. She says the purpose of the advisory is to "talk about ways we can create safe, welcoming, inclusive spaces for learning for everybody, particularly students from traditionally marginalized communities who face the impacts of systemic racism."
In addition to the advisory, the College has been working with Karen Murray, OCT, to develop three Additional Qualification guidelines to help educators understand and address the systemic challenges imposed upon children and youth who identify as members of Black communities.
Murray, the centrally assigned principal for the Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement at the Toronto District School Board, stresses that "This is an important conversation that we want to move intentionally to practice. We want to create the conditions for staff and students to teach and talk about racism. This AQ can provide the tools to enable educators to become comfortable in engaging in anti-Black racism pedagogy."
We recognize there is always more work to be done and we are committed to taking meaningful action, such as leading where appropriate and providing support by consulting on, or following, anti-oppressive and anti-racist practices, policies and processes. The work we've been doing speaks to our commitment to protecting the public interest, which, ultimately, is about all students' safety and well-being.