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WRDSB trustees vote down motion to examine critical race theory in lesson plans

Trustees came to a nearly unanimous decision
Waterloo Region District School Board

A main focus of this week's Waterloo Region District School Board meeting was critical race theory and white privilege. 

Trustee Cindy Watson brought the motion forward citing parental concerns as the reason for bringing the recommendation to staff. 

"There is much confusion from parents and staff around CRT and white privilege, the confusion is breeding concerns, sharing concerns leads to fear of being judged or being labelled a racist and judgment will ultimately always bring division," she told trustees Monday night.  

The recommendation to staff include five points: 

  • That the Waterloo Region District School Board request that staff prepare a report and a presentation that explains the working definition of CRT and White Privilege as they relate to the development of 'anti-racist' lesson plans, as well as the grade levels that the plans are introduced
  • That this report and presentation be presented back to the board no later than the end of Sept 2022
  • That staff also provide recommendations that will help support children if they internalize guilt and shame and solutions that will help prevent a possible stigma and or bias that could affect the school climate
  • That parents be provided supplemental material on the theory of 'White Privilege' before their students are taught White Privilege
  • That a letter be written to the Minister of Education about parental concerns regarding CRT and or the theory of “White Privilege” that are being taught to their children. 

After the presentation of the motion, staff member Lila Read confirmed that CRT is not currently be taught at schools in the WRDSB. 

This lead some trustees, such as Carol Miller, to question the reason for the motion in the first place. 

"It may have helpful for the trustees who authored this [motion] to simply talk to staff, ask questions, gather information and clarify whats actually being taught in our schools," she said.  

Some trustees at the meeting said the act of putting the motion forward has caused a significant negative impact on racialized students and staff over anger from misinformed individuals. 

Director of Education jeewan chanicka was overcome with emotion while giving his opposition to the motion. 

"We've had community leaders who have come forward to us and say the conversations that have been happening are impacting some children to the extent that their becoming suicidal and/or wanted to leave the region," he said. 

Trustees heard from delegations on the subject as well.

"I grew up in west Texas. There was, what I would now term today, an 'open environment for casual racism.' I would discourage you to even consider motions like this because they have the potential to bring Canada closer to the United States in a way that I do not think is beneficial," said delegate Grayson Bass. 

Aashay Dalvi another delegate spoke in defence of CRT and against the motion. 

"Critical race theory exists to remind children that racism is the common everyday experience of most people of colour in this country," they said. 

Following a vote, the majority of trustees opposed the motion, with only two voting in favour. 

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