School District 71 is seeking input on a draft of its new non-discrimination policy.
The board of education’s policy committee updated the rest of the board at the regular October meeting.
They have started the engagement process with education and community partners for Policy 24-Equity and Non-Discrimination.
“The invitation will be posted on our district website,” committee chair Michelle Waite told the board.
Letters were going out to the community about the process and a list would be compiled of everyone who received an invitation.
“We’ll share those lists with the trustees,” said superintendent Tom Demeo.
The plan is then to have the final review process presented to the board at the December board meeting. According to the committee minutes, the deadline for feedback is Nov. 22.
Board chair Sheila McDonnell asked about whether people would be asked to identify themselves through the process, but Demeo said it is anonymous.
The district website now includes an announcement about the process of creating the draft policy. Once a policy is adopted by the board, the district will begin work on developing the administrative procedures related to the policy.
Policy 24 cites different sources on which it is based, such as the Canadian Humans Rights Act, B.C. Human Rights Code and the B.C. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and the B.C. Multiculturalism Act, as well as the many forms that discrimination may take. It also sets out the board’s commitment to creating an inclusive environment with cross-cultural connections.
In late 2020, the board set up an ad hoc committee to look at the policy around equity and non-discrimination. At the time, McDonnell noted how the previous policies on racism and sexism dated back as far as the 1970s and were limited in their scope. As well, much of the detail had been moved from the actual board policy to the administrative procedures.