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There's finally a way to track racist incidents in Ontario schools

Parent advocates have been saying for years that school boards need to keep track of anti-Black racism in school boards. When the boards didn't create a system, the parents decided to do it themselves.

There’s no denying that anti-Black racism exists in Canadian schools. If you don’t believe the words of Black kids and their parents, then believe the data-based major reports that prove that race plays a significant role in producing unequal outcomes for Black students—that stereotypes work to marginalize Black kids and negatively affect their learning and educational outcomes, among other things.

Although school boards have yet to find a systemic way to combat anti-Black racism, it’s clear that one of the first steps should be to track it—and now there’s finally a way to do so in Ontario.

Black parent advocacy group Parents of Black Children (PoBC) has launched a new online tool today, which aims to do what Ontario school boards so far haven’t done: accurately collect and disaggregate data about anti-Black racism.

The tool will be accessible to teachers, as well as anyone else working within a school or school board, from custodians to principals and superintendents, and will allow them to anonymously report incidents of anti-Black racism perpetrated against students, colleagues or even themselves. The tool asks questions about what happened, where, to whom, and whether or not the school board or union had been notified. “This tool is a game changer,” says Kearie Daniel, one of the founding members of PoBC. “We want you to know what racism looks like when the doors are closed,” says Charlene Anthony-Hines, another founding member of PoBC. She says she’ll be looking for ways to share the information the tool collects.

Of course, school boards themselves should be tracking racist incidents in their schools. Unfortunately, that’s not happening. “They refuse to,” says Daniel. Global News recently reached out to a variety of public school boards in Ontario, and most admitted that because complaints are received in a variety of different ways, there’s no central tracking system for them.