BY ALEX GREGORY
A week after a damning report published by an investigator slammed the Peel District School Board (PDSB) for “dysfunctional” behaviour, a special consultant has been hired to consult on critical actions to address systemic discrimination within the school system. PDSB said Monday that the province’s former Education Commissioner, Dr. Avis Glaze, has been hired to serve as a consultant to Director of Education Peter Joshua, advising on strategies and and actions the Board can take to eliminate anti Black racism within the school system.
The move comes after the provincial report, delivered by investigator Arleen Huggins, accused the Board of not fully complying with binding directives, In a statement Monday, Joshua said that Glaze would act as an impartial advisor to give feedback to the Board regarding their strengths and weaknesses, and to help build relationships with communities throughout the region. Additionally, Glaze will develop an accountability framework with quarterly reports and a public report to address strategic outcomes from the consultations.
“While our commitment to anti- Black racism work is real, I accept that there is reason for mistrust, sowed by years of inaction in our schools,” said Joshua. “I believe we can rebuild trust with the community. It won’t be easy or happen overnight, but, guided by Dr. Glaze’s people-oriented and outcomesfocused approach to educational leadership, I am hopeful we can work together.” Joshua previously said that the Board would meet its directives, in reference to the report, which detailed several directions that weren’t fully complied with.
“My expectation is clear: the Board must change, or I will take further action. We cannot and will not sit idle, while families and students continue to feel isolated, victimized, and targeted,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce said last week, in reference to the review. “It is clear that we must continue our work to confront racism – specifically anti- Black racism – within our schools across the province.”
A further directive has been issued to the Board by Lecce to meet the requirements outlined in Huggins’ report by June 22. Glaze said Monday that there “can be no throw-away-kids, and, to that end, Peel cannot be a throwaway-school-board; they must be supported.”