On behalf of the more than 2400 members of the Hamilton-Wentworth Elementary Teachers’ Local (HWETL), the Executive makes this public statement of support on the issues involving the Trustees of the HWDSB:
HWETL is a progressive labour union whose aims include fostering a climate of social justice in such areas as anti-poverty, non-violence, and equity.
HWETL joins the call for ending individual acts of racism and the dismantling of systemic racism in our public institutions. Racism, and oppression are systemic problems within the HWDSB and each one of us, individually, and as organizations, need to do our part to call it out and work towards stopping them.
School Board Trustees, as elected officials, represent the public’s link to all students and employees of this school board, and not only need to be accountable and transparent, but also they should, as a body, combat racism, and ensure that there are continual efforts towards anti-racism and anti-oppression within our Board.
Whereas there were a number of serious violations of Conflict-of-Interest guidelines committed by several Trustees related to this matter, and that these violations lessen the integrity of the HWDSB and which call into question the ability of HWDSB to act as the moral and political authority to continue to govern universal public education in Hamilton-Wentworth.
The HWETL Executive, on behalf of its members, calls for the immediate resignation of the any and all trustees found to have been acting in racist and oppressive ways as reported in the HWDSB’s recent investigation.
HWETL commits to working internally to provide education and training so that it can contribute to the eradication of racism and oppression within the HWDSB.
HWETL also commits to working with other organizations to help dismantle racism and oppression at systemic and institutional levels across our community.
In respect of the HWDSB Director’s insistence of the employees of the Board to “call out racism”, HWETL expects that there be no reprisals for staff calling out racism in their workplace and that the HWDSB immediately commit themselves to working with HWETL in developing and adopting a “Whistle-Blower” policy which has been repeatedly denied by the board despite HWETL requests in the past.
HWETL also calls for the HWDSB to reverse their previous decision of making the trustee names contained within the public report anonymous and commit to making them public.
HWETL accepts that we need to serve a role in ending racism and oppression in all its forms. While education is only the first step towards intersectional social and economic justice, it is an important and necessary step. HWETL hopes that we can walk together with others in this journey.
Together we must do better. Together we can do better.
- In Solidarity,
- Jeff Sorensen
- Hamilton-Wentworth Elementary Teachers’ Local