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Category Archives: Equity and Inclusivity
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
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.
A copy of this letter will be sent home with students this week, but we have also posted it here for your convenience.
This week, our students and staff engaged in conversations around caring, safe and inclusive school environments. In meetings with classes we discussed the elements of a Caring and Safe School that would support the academic achievement and well-being of all students, including:
- Demonstrating positive character attributes (such as empathy, courage and respect for human rights and inclusivity)
- Items and behaviours that are not allowed on school property (peanut butter, fake weapons and multitools (ex. utility knives) )
- What happens in situations of discipline
- Standing up for each other in bullying situations, including methods of reporting incidents of bullying:
- Tell a caring adult
For more details on each of these items, please read the YRDSB Start-Up Guide.
You can also visit the YRDSB’s Caring and Safe Schools website for details and resources for families to continue the conversation.
We hope that you have a wonderful week and thank you for supporting our safe, positive and inclusive school community.