Hamilton school board seeks to root out racist governing structures

News Oct 20, 2020 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

Hamilton’s public school board trustees have voted unanimously to hire an outside consultant to review their governing policies and procedures from an anti-racism and anti-oppression perspective.

Board chair Alex Johnstone, who called for the review, the first since 2013, said changes are needed because existing governance models “are rooted in historic colonial and oppressive structures.”

She said the timing is ripe because the coronavirus pandemic has forced the board to “rethink how we do many things,” including by holding meetings online.

“It is an opportunity for us to think about how we hear each other and how we want to be heard. In a democracy there’s nothing more important than our voice,” Johnstone said at the Oct. 20 board meeting.

“All laws, they should never be permanent, they should always be living, a living document, and I think there’s never been a better time in order to rethink how we bring our voices to this table.”

Maria Felix Miller, who replaced Chris Parkinson as Ward 3 trustee in June 2019 following his sudden death, said the review is a welcome implementation of the board’s equity action plan “in our policy making, our decision-making and our world views.”

“I will be honest, there is a lot of work to do at this table,” she said.

Trustees were told their governance committee will provide details of the review, including its budget, for approval at a future board meeting.

Though no one mentioned it, the review follows June’s controversial decision to terminate a police liaison program in schools that opponents said made students of colour feel unsafe.

It also comes amid the board’s ongoing investigation into former student trustee Ahona Mehdi’s allegations in August of racist behaviour by unnamed white trustees.

Mountain trustee Dawn Danko echoed others in calling the review long overdue and said she appreciates the use of an independent third party to do it.

“I don’t feel like I am trained and able to do that, so I really would value receiving that particular look at it,” she said.

“As we’ve gone through a time of disruption, that is a time when you start to realize where your governance and your structures doesn’t work, and whenever the process gets in the way of doing what’s right or moving the board forward, I think we need to take a close look at that.”

 

Hamilton school board seeks to root out racist governing structures

Review by outside party to bring anti-racism, anti-oppression lens

News Oct 20, 2020 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

Hamilton’s public school board trustees have voted unanimously to hire an outside consultant to review their governing policies and procedures from an anti-racism and anti-oppression perspective.

Board chair Alex Johnstone, who called for the review, the first since 2013, said changes are needed because existing governance models “are rooted in historic colonial and oppressive structures.”

She said the timing is ripe because the coronavirus pandemic has forced the board to “rethink how we do many things,” including by holding meetings online.

“It is an opportunity for us to think about how we hear each other and how we want to be heard. In a democracy there’s nothing more important than our voice,” Johnstone said at the Oct. 20 board meeting.

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“All laws, they should never be permanent, they should always be living, a living document, and I think there’s never been a better time in order to rethink how we bring our voices to this table.”

Maria Felix Miller, who replaced Chris Parkinson as Ward 3 trustee in June 2019 following his sudden death, said the review is a welcome implementation of the board’s equity action plan “in our policy making, our decision-making and our world views.”

“I will be honest, there is a lot of work to do at this table,” she said.

Trustees were told their governance committee will provide details of the review, including its budget, for approval at a future board meeting.

Though no one mentioned it, the review follows June’s controversial decision to terminate a police liaison program in schools that opponents said made students of colour feel unsafe.

It also comes amid the board’s ongoing investigation into former student trustee Ahona Mehdi’s allegations in August of racist behaviour by unnamed white trustees.

Mountain trustee Dawn Danko echoed others in calling the review long overdue and said she appreciates the use of an independent third party to do it.

“I don’t feel like I am trained and able to do that, so I really would value receiving that particular look at it,” she said.

“As we’ve gone through a time of disruption, that is a time when you start to realize where your governance and your structures doesn’t work, and whenever the process gets in the way of doing what’s right or moving the board forward, I think we need to take a close look at that.”

 

Hamilton school board seeks to root out racist governing structures

Review by outside party to bring anti-racism, anti-oppression lens

News Oct 20, 2020 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

Hamilton’s public school board trustees have voted unanimously to hire an outside consultant to review their governing policies and procedures from an anti-racism and anti-oppression perspective.

Board chair Alex Johnstone, who called for the review, the first since 2013, said changes are needed because existing governance models “are rooted in historic colonial and oppressive structures.”

She said the timing is ripe because the coronavirus pandemic has forced the board to “rethink how we do many things,” including by holding meetings online.

“It is an opportunity for us to think about how we hear each other and how we want to be heard. In a democracy there’s nothing more important than our voice,” Johnstone said at the Oct. 20 board meeting.

Related Content

“All laws, they should never be permanent, they should always be living, a living document, and I think there’s never been a better time in order to rethink how we bring our voices to this table.”

Maria Felix Miller, who replaced Chris Parkinson as Ward 3 trustee in June 2019 following his sudden death, said the review is a welcome implementation of the board’s equity action plan “in our policy making, our decision-making and our world views.”

“I will be honest, there is a lot of work to do at this table,” she said.

Trustees were told their governance committee will provide details of the review, including its budget, for approval at a future board meeting.

Though no one mentioned it, the review follows June’s controversial decision to terminate a police liaison program in schools that opponents said made students of colour feel unsafe.

It also comes amid the board’s ongoing investigation into former student trustee Ahona Mehdi’s allegations in August of racist behaviour by unnamed white trustees.

Mountain trustee Dawn Danko echoed others in calling the review long overdue and said she appreciates the use of an independent third party to do it.

“I don’t feel like I am trained and able to do that, so I really would value receiving that particular look at it,” she said.

“As we’ve gone through a time of disruption, that is a time when you start to realize where your governance and your structures doesn’t work, and whenever the process gets in the way of doing what’s right or moving the board forward, I think we need to take a close look at that.”