In the wake of the horrific shooting on Tuesday evening in Georgia, the thoughts of the students and staff of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) are with the victims, their loved ones, and Asian communities in the Atlanta area and beyond.
Of the 8 people who lost their lives, 6 were Asian women. The shooting occurs at a time when acts of anti-Asian racism and violence are rising — here in Canada, in the U.S. and internationally. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the TDSB has heard from educators, students and community members about their experiences confronting anti-Asian discrimination and its harmful impact on mental health, well-being and safety.
In our schools and workplaces across the city, TDSB staff work to identify, interrupt, address and report acts of racism, discrimination and hate. This is an important and crucial step in ensuring our schools are safe and caring spaces for everyone to learn and work. In the wake of this most recent violent attack, our resolve is strengthened to do all we can to engage students, staff and families in the vital work of building inclusive and compassionate communities. Earlier this year, the TDSB and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) partnered to develop important resources for addressing anti-Asian racism in classrooms and school communities. Recently, the TDSB Human Library Podcast also featured an episode on Understanding and Addressing Anti-Asian Racism.
In the days and weeks ahead, we will support students and staff in any way we can. Following Tuesday’s attack, some members of our TDSB communities may be experiencing feelings of vulnerability or insecurity. Media coverage may also be upsetting and challenging. Our Professional Support Services staff have assembled the following tips for parents, which may help support these conversations with children.
Karen Falconer Alexander Brown
Interim Director Chair