Ontario English Catholic Teachers

School's decision to call police on young Black student highlights need to address systemic barriers


“Catholic teachers are deeply concerned by the news that police were called to a Waterloo region school to address a situation involving a young Black student.

The incident serves as a stark reminder of the varied and systemic barriers in our social institutions, which must be addressed and deconstructed to eliminate inequities in all forms, including through an examination of existing practices and protocols. We recognize that it is not enough to call for equity; we must actively work toward justice.

There is also an urgent need to improve the resources available to students to address issues of well-being, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Association has long called attention to the connection between mental health, well-being, and incidents of violence. Students must be provided greater access to culturally responsive services and supports, including early interventions, to help address their social, emotional, and behavioural needs. All students deserve a learning environment that allows them to realize their full potential.

There is still much work to be done. Catholic teachers reaffirm our support to eliminate racism, including anti-Black racism, discrimination, and all systemic barriers in our schools. The government must provide needed investment to enhance professional development in schools, so that school board officials, administrators, and all educators have the tools and resources to recognize and address systemic racism.”

- Barb Dobrowolski, President of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association