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Backgrounder - Commission settles complaints with the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

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October 6, 2005

Public interest remedies

The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board (the “Board’) agrees that, when teachers or school administrators are alleged to have made inappropriate remark(s) toward a student regarding that student's race, colour, ethnic origin, place of origin, creed, or disability, or other grounds as protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code , or to have purposefully failed to appropriately accommodate the needs of disabled students, the Board shall investigate the allegations and implement measures, where appropriate, to ensure accountability. Such measures shall include, in appropriate circumstances, discipline up to and including termination.

The Board agrees to provide anti-racism training to all administrators, before the conclusion of the 2006-2007 school year, regarding racial profiling and racially biased education.

The Board agrees to provide all administrators, before the conclusion of the 2006-2007 school year, with disability accommodation training.

The Board agrees to develop during the 2005-2006 school year an initiative to facilitate awareness of anti-racism and human rights activities within the Board and its school communities for the purposes of encouraging the participation of students, teachers and administrators.

The Board agrees to continue to provide through its Equity Office issue and/or incident-specific anti-discrimination training for staff and students when requested by adult students, parents, teachers and/or school administrators, which shall include anti-racism training where the issue is race-related.

The Board agrees to conduct a review, prior to the conclusion of the 2006-2007 school year, of the Board's existing Anti-Racism and Ethnocultural Equity Policy and Regulations.

Any measures to develop or modify the Board's Policies, including the Anti-Racism and Ethnocultural Equity Policy, shall include a public consultation process enabling interested community organizations or parents to make written and/or oral comments for consideration.

The Board confirms that alternative measures to Suspension and Expulsion are included in the Board's Catholic Code of Conduct, and that such alternative measures will be considered prior to the imposition of a Suspension and/or Expulsion as one method of encouraging the full participation of racialized students in the Board's educational programs.

The Board agrees that prior to imposing Suspensions and Expulsions Administrators will be required to consider mitigating factors including:

  • Whether the student has the ability to control his or her behaviour;
  • Whether the student has the ability to understand the foreseeable consequences of his or her behaviour;
  • Whether the student creates an unacceptable risk to the safety of others;
  • Whether racial or other harassment gave rise to the student's behaviour; and
  • Whether the student might be disproportionately affected by the imposition of a Suspension and/or Expulsion as a result of having the characteristics of one or more of the following grounds protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code , specifically race, disability, ethnicity, place of origin and/or colour.

The Board agrees to increase awareness and encourage the use of peer mediation and restorative justice principles within its schools as alternatives to or in combination with Suspensions or Limited Principal Expulsions. The Board commits to continue to provide in-service training to administrators with respect to the principles and application of peer mediation and restorative justice.

The Board confirms that its Suspension and Expulsion Appeal Procedures provide the right for a parent or adult student to be represented by legal counsel for the purposes of an Appeal, and that it will communicate that all such parents and adult students have the right to legal counsel, may be entitled to legal aid, and may seek adjournment of the Hearing to obtain counsel.

The Board confirms that it will continue to make available alternative educational programs and services to all students who are subject to a lengthy Suspension or Limited Principal Expulsion.

The Board confirms that it is currently creating Investigation Guidelines, with an anticipated implementation date of September 2006, and that for the purpose of drafting such Guidelines the Board will invite consultation with public advocacy groups.

The Board agrees that included in its Investigation Guidelines will be an expectation when a student is a minor or is disabled, that prior to imposing a suspension and/or expulsion, the School Administration will attempt to contact that student's parent or guardian.

The Board commits to communicating to Administrators the expectation that Administrators retain all documents related to the expulsion and/or suspension of a student, consistent with the Board's General Administrative Procedure, Document Retention, currently in draft form, as well as any other evidence collected or disclosed to an Administrator in the course of his/her investigation.

The Board agrees that where an expulsion and/or suspension of a student becomes the subject-matter of a Human Rights Complaint pursuant to the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Board will direct administrators to maintain in safe-keeping until the complete resolution of the Complaint, all existing evidentiary records or copies thereof, including all documents and surveillance gathered by School Administrators.

The Board continues its commitment to the creation and implementation of Individual Education Plans for students with special needs consistent with the expectations of the Ministry of Education as outlined in Regulation 181/98, Identification and Placement of Exceptional Pupils and the Ministry of Education's Individual Education Plans: Standards for Development, Program Planning, and Implementation, 2000.

The Board agrees to actively recruit qualified and certified Catholic teachers and administrators who are members of racial minority groups and to develop a policy with respect to the retention and promotion of teachers from racial minority groups.

The Board agrees to discuss with staff of the Ontario Human Rights Commission and explore the merits of implementing a statistics gathering program consistent with the Commission's Policy and Guidelines on Racism and Racial Discrimination (2005).

See Also:

News Release: Commission settles complaints with the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board