Category Archives: Equity and Inclusivity

Hallowe’en

To those families celebrating Hallowe’en on October 31st, we wish you all a safe and happy Hallowe’en.

Please note that on October 31st, the focus of the day remains on instruction, any Hallowe’en related activities are optional, and students will have a choice to participate in alternative activities. We also want to share that there is no expectation for students to bring a costume that day nor do we not want families to feel pressured to spend money on costumes. Students celebrating this occasion in costume at our school on October 31st must comply with the Caring and Safe School’s policy. Costume accessories including, but not limited to, toy guns, knives, axes, swords, etc. are not in compliance with York Region District School Board’s Safe Schools Policy #668.0. Should your child bring a costume to school on October 31st we would ask that no replica weapons (ex. Swords, guns) be brought to school if they are part of the costume. We also ask that students not wear masks to ensure they can see clearly. Costumes should be respectful of others. For example, if something is representative of a person’s culture or religious beliefs, then it should not be worn as another person’s costume. Further, in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation, it is important that costumes do not trivialize and devalue the lives of Indigenous peoples in Canada.  We also ask that no food be sent into the school from families (ex. cupcakes for a classroom to celebrate the day).

For some members of our community, Hallowe’en brings memories of dress -up parades, costume competitions, and classroom parties whereas for others it bears a very different meaning. As with each of our traditions and ways of doing things, it is valuable to revisit our practices to ensure that we, “demonstrate equity and inclusivity in all we do”. It is important for us to recognize that not all families celebrate and participate in Halloween. The reasons for not participating are varied, and they include cultural beliefs, faith, socioeconomic status, and personal reasons. As part of our ongoing work in demonstrating equity and inclusivity in all that we do as a school and as a school board, we have started to rethink our own tradition of a Hallowe’en parade at our school. We are seeking your feedback as well as we move forward. For this school year, we will continue our tradition of having families who wish to join us for our sharing parade at 2:00 p.m. We ask any families joining us who wish to take pictures to please only take pictures of your own child to ensure we do not violate privacy laws.

Many of our students will enjoy treats over the next few weeks. As always, we wish to promote healthy eating at our school, and discourage students from bringing candies that are in abundance around Halloween to school. Many candies and treats, especially the small chocolate bars that the children receive during Trick or Treating contain peanuts and other nuts. These are great to enjoy at home. Given the variety of allergies we have throughout our building, we would ask all families to continue to be vigilant when selecting which snacks to bring to school. It is also important that students don’t trade snacks with each other.

Your continued support of student safety is greatly appreciated.

Mr. Collins

 

Orange Shirt Day

Since the date of September 30, 2018 falls on a Sunday, our board will recognize Orange
Shirt Day on Friday September 28, 2018 in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for the
future generations.
The Orange Shirt Day movement started in 2013 to highlight the pain and suffering of thousands of Indigenous children who were sent to residential school throughout the last century. The colour of the shirt is connected to the experience of Phyllis Webstad who was sent to Cariboo Residential School near Williams Lake, BC, in 1973.
Six -years old at the time, Phyllis went to her first day of school wearing a new bright orange shirt. New clothes were a rare thing for the young girl, who was being raised by her grandmother. However, upon arriving at the school, the nuns stripped her of the shirt, forcing her to wear the school’s institutional uniform.
Webstad has felt the impact of that event long after it occurred, “that feeling of worthlessness and insignificance, ingrained in me from my first day at the mission, affected the way I lived my life for many years. Even now, when I know nothing could be further than the truth, I still sometimes feel that I don’t matter.”
The shirt has since gone on to become a symbol of a national movement that recognizes the suffering of Indigenous children at residential schools across the country and to show a renewed commitment to ensure that every child matters.
We encourage YRDSB staff and students to wear an orange shirt on September 28, 2018
to recognize the resiliency and bravery of Residential School Survivors.

Every Student Counts Survey

A copy of this letter will be sent home with students this week, but we have also posted it here for your convenience.

Translations of this letter can be found at the board’s website.

Mr. Collins