TDSB taking action against anti-Asian racism in schools

Feb 9 2021, 8:13 am

Educators in Toronto and Ontario have formed a partnership to take action against anti-Asian racism, which has escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and Toronto District School Board (TDSB) have partnered to develop Addressing Anti-Asian Racism: A Resource for Educators, to “empower educators to take action against anti-Asian racism.”

“At the TDSB, we proudly serve the most diverse population of students and families in Canada. Within our schools, we also experience and witness the harmful ways that world events can influence acts of racism, hate, and discrimination on an individual level,” said TDSB Director of Education Karen Falconer in a statement.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in racist attitudes and behaviours towards Asians and people of Asian descent here in Toronto, as it has across our country and internationally. Acts of anti-Asian discrimination are unacceptable and cause harm to the health, well-being and safety of educators, students, families and communities.”

Due to the rise in anti-Asian racism, both ETFO and TDSB have heard from educators, students and the community about their experiences confronting anti-Asian racism and its impact on the mental health, well-being and safety of staff, students, and families.

“This timely and important resource aims to offer an urgent response to racism that has been accentuated during the global pandemic,” added Sam Hammond, President of ETFO.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to violence and overt forms of discrimination that continue to impact some of Ontario’s racialized and marginalized communities.”

Addressing Anti-Asian Racism: A Resource for Educators provides a foundation for educators to reflect and discuss anti-Asian racism and implement social justice action. The document also centres on Indigenous and Black lives.

The release notes that the document was created by a team of educators of Asian descent whose lived experiences, both personal and professional, and “knowledge and passion for social justice are reflected in its pages.”

The resource includes: conceptual frameworks, knowledge and issues; a toolkit for school leaders and educators; and community resources and relevant policies.

To launch the resource, ETFO and TDSB will host Addressing Anti-Asian Racism in Schools and Communities, an online event, held on, February 9, from 5 to 6:30 pm.

The talk coincides with Black History Month and will highlight Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese New Year on February 12.

“This launch serves as a way to highlight the solidarity of anti-racist initiatives and recognizes the need to both understand and contextualize the fight against colonialism and racism across racial and cultural lines,” said Falconer.

The online event will feature the following panellists and includes an opportunity for participants to ask questions:

  • Gen Ling Chan, Deputy Executive Director of ALPHA Education, will provide the historical and current context of anti-Asian racism
  • Vidya Shah, Assistant Professor at York University, will speak to lateral violence, centring of Black and Indigenous voices, complicity, and allyship

Addressing Anti-Asian Racism: A Resource for Educators is posted on the TDSB website and is also available from the ETFO website.

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is the largest and one of the most diverse school boards in Canada. It serves more than 240,000 students in 583 schools throughout Toronto.

ETFO represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province.

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