Disturbing incidents of anti-Black racism

Posted On Sunday May 14, 2023

The Durham District School Board (DDSB) is committed to Indigenous rights, human rights, equity, and inclusion, and to supporting the well-being and safety of all students, staff, and community members. As part of this commitment, we are sharing information with you regarding disturbing incidents of anti-Black racism and hate that impacted multiple schools and communities in Ajax over the past few days.

Materials were discovered on and around school properties depicting extremely offensive and hateful racist slurs, imagery and messaging targeting Black communities. Durham Region Police Services (DRPS) were called immediately and are conducting a full investigation. With each situation, we communicated directly to the school community, outlined the information we knew at the time and shared information about available resources and supports for families who may have been affected.

DDSB staff have been working with the police to support the ongoing investigation. The DRPS released the following media statement today.

The DRPS have assured us that there is no imminent threat of physical danger or safety risks for students, staff or school environments. However, we recognize that incidents of anti-Black racism and hate is violence that causes and/or perpetuates harm and trauma, and that deeply affects emotional and psychological safety and well-being for individuals and communities.

The DDSB has services, supports and resources to assist students, families and staff impacted by these events. If you need support, we encourage you to reach out to your school principal. They will be able to connect you with our internal board resource teams and/or community agencies who can help.

We recognize that staff who identify as Black have been have been particularly hurt by this incident, and we know that all staff have been negatively impacted. Thank you for standing with your students and school communities while looking after each other in this time of need. We encourage you to reach out to your school leaders, managers, or the system leadership team for support.

The DDSB strongly and unequivocally condemns these acts of anti-Black racism and hate. As a part of DDSB communities, we all have individual and shared responsibilities to uphold Indigenous and human rights and treat one another with dignity and respect. All forms of racism, discrimination and hate are unacceptable in our schools and school communities and will not be condoned.

The DDSB continues to stand with and support students, families, employees and communities affected by these extremely upsetting and unsettling incidents of anti-Black racism in our communities. We also continue to work alongside the DRPS and to assess next steps as the investigation unfolds.

Camille Williams-Taylor
Director of Education
Durham District School Board