Statement from Minister Hunter on York Region District School Board
Today, Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education, issued the following statement:
"Our government is committed to improving student achievement, ensuring equity, promoting well-being and enhancing public confidence in our publicly funded schools. This is critical to the success of students in Ontario.
In January, I appointed Patrick Case and Suzanne Herbert to conduct an urgent review of the York Region District School Board (YRDSB) and asked them to provide observations and recommendations regarding concerns around governance and equity, which have impacted public confidence in the board.
After carefully reviewing the observations and recommendations in the report, I am deeply concerned. In particular, the report describes feelings of alienation, marginalization and discrimination expressed by many of the board's students, parents, staff and members of the community. The board's leadership - including the trustees and the Director - must take the actions necessary to address these concerns.
Let me be clear: racism in our schools and school boards is not acceptable. Ontario's students and parents must have assurances that their schools are safe and welcoming places to learn, and that they are environments of inclusivity and respect.
The issues within the YRDSB are severe, and the report presents a strong set of recommendations to address them. I have issued directions to the board based on the report, including eight immediate actions. These include that the board immediately suspend all international travel, submit a plan for governance and equity training for all board members, establish the position of senior administrator responsible for equity, and conduct a performance appraisal of the Director of Education led by an external human resources professional.
I will be closely monitoring the progress and compliance on each direction carefully and if I have concerns that the board is not complying, or may not comply with the directions, I may exercise my authority to take further action against the board.
My sincere hope is that the YRDSB will follow these directives and address the serious and deep-seated performance issues uncovered in the report, ultimately beginning the process of rebuilding public confidence in the board."