PoBC Launches Initiative to Combat Anti-Black Racism in Ontario Schools | Read More

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Our Advocacy Framework

Advocacy is a Right!

All parents, regardless of what school their child attends have a right to have advocates
present with them when engaging with school board staff.

Advocacy is historical, anchored in social justice, and a deep part of the experiences of Black communities. We support each other because we know that the system is not neutral.

No one should have to face a system alone.

Watch Our Advocacy Framework Video

What is the Parents of Black Children's Approach to Advocacy?

Our Advocacy approach is anchored in four main pillars:

1. Urgency

We know racial harm is violence. We treat any family coming to us with an issue or concern as an emergent occurrence.

2. Consent

All families complete consent forms that allow us to contact schools on their behalf as well as third-party organizations to provide any needed wrap-around support.

3. Transparency

  • Parents of Black Children will always send an email notification to all school board or system leadership. We will include the Director of Education, relevant superintendents and administrators as necessary, in order to ensure that everyone is aware of any ongoing situation within a school pertaining to a Black child that Parents of Black Children is involved in.
  • Parents of Black Children does not believe in meeting one on one, with single individuals, meeting for coffee to resolve issues or having private or school board leaders initiating private or side conversations, intentionally leaving out advocates who have been brought in, or initiating conversations with advocates leaving out parents.

4. Accountability

In the spirit of the West African concept of Sankofa, Parents of Black Children adamantly believes in the idea of ‘go back and fetch it,’ laying a foundation for sustainable and systemic change through accountability, so that those who come after are not navigating the same disparities. It is within this spirit that we expect school boards to hold leaders, staff, administrators, and students perpetuating racial violence and racial harm, accountable. Accountability is not an attack on individuals personally…it is about holding actions to account and creating the space and a place for change.

What does accountability look like?

The Four R’s: REPORT, REMOVE, RESOLVE and REBUILD

Report

Remove

Resolve

Rebuild

Report

Report educators who have been found guilty of discrimination/racism as a professional misconduct to the Ontario College of Teachers, Ontario Principals Council, Catholic Principals’ Council of Ontario, College of Early Childhood Educators, and additional reporting bodies as required.

Remove

Remove administrators and educators or students who have committed egregious acts of racism- instead of simply moving them to another school, or another position within the school board.

Resolve

Remove administrators and educators or students who have committed egregious acts of racism- instead of simply moving them to another school, or another position within the school board.

Rebuild

  • $Deconstruct and examine the processes and policies that led to the issue at hand.
  • $ Put a plan in place to dismantle any process that creates systemic harm, in order to change the system.

What do we expect from school boards

1. Timely responses to emails and requests to meetings

  • As school boards charged with the education of our children, it is our expectation that requests to meet to discuss the well-being and/or experience of a child will be met in a timely matter
  •  We do not expect school board leaders to centre their own feelings or demonstrate defensiveness in matters pertaining to the experiences of a child or a child’s family within their school

2. Active engagement in meetings with parents (Along with their advocates)

  • We expect school boards to meet with parents and advocates together.
  • We do not expect parameters/conditions with respect to how these meetings are facilitated (i.e. meetings can only be in person, and only one advocate can attend a meeting).
  • School board meetings often involve multiple participants, with varying skills sets and levels of expertise, advocacy support is no different. It is unreasonable and unfair to expect a parent to sit in a meeting with multiple school board representatives and only one advocate by their side.

3. Be prepared to have challenging conversations, be open to discomfort and be ready to identify solutions and resolutions

  • More often than not, it will not feel good to be on the other end of an advocacy discussion when racial harm perpetrated against children is involved. Be prepared to be uncomfortable.
  • Be prepared to feel embarrassment. Be prepared to feel responsible. Be prepared to be vulnerable. As school board leaders, administrators and educators, we ask you to channel all of those feelings into identifying solutions and resolutions to the issue at hand.
  • Inclusion of the school boards human rights and equity team in meetings – where a team exists within the board.

What we do not expectfrom school board staff, administrators, leaders, or union representatives

  • Getting up and walking out of meetings or ending a meeting when matters of race, racism or white supremacy are being discussed.
  • Use of racial slurs, racial tropes or stereotypes directed at parents or advocates during a meeting.
  • Refusing to meet with parents and advocates, delaying or roadblocking meetings.
  • Tone policing advocates or parents during meetings or in correspondence communication.
  • Delayed action in reconciliation or justice for families, based on a school boards legal or investigative process.

What can school boards expect from us?

In addition to Urgency, Consent, Transparency, and Accountability mentioned above. School boards can expect the following when engaging with Parents of Black Children:

  • An email from PoBC, notifying school board leaders, superintendents, and administration (where appropriate) that we are supporting a parent within their school community.
  • A collaborative approach to resolving concerns raised
  • Timely responses to email communication
  • To be present at meetings with parents and to vigorously support parents who have come to us for support.

We anchor our advocacy support for parents in the Ontario Human Right’s Commission (OHRC) Policy and guidelines on racism and racial discrimination; Part 2 of which states:

“A citizen who honestly and reasonably believes that he or she is being treated unjustly is entitled to protest vigorously, as long as there is no resort to threatening gestures to accompany the words.”

Ontario Human Right's Commission (OHRC)

Policy and Guidelines on Racism and Racial Discrimination; Part 2

“To be an activist is to speak. To be an advocate is to listen. Society can’t move forward without both.”

– Eva Marie Lewis

Concerned about advocacy within school boards?

Click below to send a letter to system leaders to let them know. Add your voice and help us drive systems change.

Student And Family Advocacy Program

Parents of Black Children is pleased to lead the Student and Family Advocate Program Community of Practice for Ontario. This means there are 17 organizations, across the province of Ontario, specifically funded to provide advocacy support to Black parents across systems.

Learn more about Ontario’s Student and Family Advocate Program

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