World leaders: End racism in schools now

Recent city councillors fielded allegations that they groped and harassed coworkers. That said, we’re not going to judge Toronto’s Democratic Party.

What’s truly laughable is that Canada’s inner city, in particular, often looks more like a playground of sexual predators than a children’s playground. Sure, the writers and artists and even the little girls involved are often telling us about our surroundings, but they’re also sniping back at anyone who dare has the temerity to disagree.

And there’s no way we’re allowing, for example, schools where women are the teachers and men, especially men of color, the administrators, let alone are living and breathing human beings, to avoid addressing the fact that they’re the gender that’s behind so much of the overwhelming sexual assault and harassment of kids and teachers.

Having met and worked with some of the smartest female educators we know, I can tell you that it breaks their hearts to read about the culture they work in and work to change. They go the extra mile, because that’s their job and they know how critical it is to find their way past the toxicity that’s overtaking our schools.

Despite the fact that racism is still the worst kind of discrimination, it’s clear that racism is becoming a bigger issue in classrooms. Research shows that the prevalence of racism and structural discrimination might actually be on the rise. People report being less likely to report a case of assault or violence if it involved a gender other than their own.

So, how do schools respond? What role should they have? What do we as parents and members of society need to do?

The solution isn’t just about bullying and protecting our kids, but also about education and teaching and growing and learning together.

As the debate over racism and sexism in schools rages, I’m hopeful.

We’re taught from young about the contributions of everyone, not just men, not just whites, not just straight.

As teachers and members of society, we have a responsibility to teach our kids to be ambassadors for this world and to understand that our highest virtue is not a sexual preference, but compassion and understanding.

So, let’s make a pact.

Will you teach your child that all animals are created equal? Will you teach your children to value others? Will you teach your kids to say “no” when they see hurtful words, gestures or actions?

And once they go to school, let’s teach them to be a civil, respectful and responsible citizen. We live in a civilization where we are all equal, and we need to get off a school’s collective bus and really, really take care of each other.

Let’s join hands in solidarity as we advocate for more equitable classrooms.

As a parent, I want all my children to go to a school where they feel supported and supported, where there is a strong climate of diversity and inclusion.

That means police officers are not allowed in the classrooms of my children’s schools. It means families are welcome at the lunch tables of my children’s schools. It means children are taught respect for one another. It means communities are integrated. It means children will be ready and able to develop their full potential.

Let’s embrace the love and humility and love we all should have for each other and for ourselves. Let’s stop letting our disagreements become racist, misogynistic and sexist accusations.

Let’s stand behind a progressive, intersectional system that gives children and teachers the tools they need to have a long and healthy career.

Inclusion can only be supported by mutual respect and diversity and so can every city councillor, every fire chief, every city council, every police chief, every general superintendent. That’s the real legacy you want to leave the world.

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