Resources for Adults Wishing to Discuss Racism with Children

Acts of racism and violence in the United States and Canada have many adults wondering how to discuss race and racism with children. Thames Valley's Culture for Learning team would like to share the following links in order to help Board employees, parents and caregivers navigate these conversations.

Taking About Race
This resource was prepared by the National Museum of African American History & Culture and contains several links, articles and videos to help adults navigate conversations about race and racism with children. Follow this link for more:

CNN  / Sesame Street Racism Town Hall
“CNN partnered with "Sesame Street" for a special town hall about racism, giving both kids and parents an opportunity to explore the current moment the nation is living through and to understand how these issues affect people.” Follow this link for more:

 Open Letter from the Director of Education
June 17, 2020

To our TVDSB Students, Staff and Community,

Thank you to our community for sending Thames Valley letters, giving voice to the barriers, struggles, and trauma experienced by Black and Indigenous people in their interactions with the institution of public education. 

We have so much work to do. 

The concerns raised about a lack of representation of Black and Indigenous identities and history in curriculum; about the absence of fundamental frontline services for Black and Indigenous students; about the education and training needs of staff; and about routine practices in schools that have the potential inflict daily trauma on Black and racialized students and their families – all weigh heavily on the conscience of an organization mandated to ensure equitable access to high quality education.

I acknowledge the responsibility of every employee of the Thames Valley District School Board to work tirelessly to change the attitudes and practices in our system that enable racism, discrimination and bias. For this reason, equity and diversity is one of the Board’s central strategic priorities.   

I acknowledge the need for this work to include challenging existing structures that create barriers to equity and inclusion and perpetuate systemic inequalities. To this end, Thames Valley is committed to identifying necessary changes to its policies and procedures and to collecting public input on both new and existing policies to support systemic change.  

I acknowledge, in particular, the responsibility of Board and school leaders to drive this change, and to model intentional action to enhance equity, inclusion, and respect for human rights. To this end, Thames Valley is committed to establishing capacity for such intentional action as an essential leadership competency. 

Our Board is also committed to the continuous collection of the data necessary to support evidence-based decision-making and to ensure that every step we take addresses and responds to a problem that we understand, and is connected to an accountability measure we cannot ignore. 

We can, and must do better. I am personally committed to this critical work. Everyone who has come forward to draw attention to its scope, and its urgency, have invaluable insight and lived experience. Thames Valley is committed to creating continuous opportunities for meaningful conversation with our Black and Indigenous students, families and community as we move forward. 

I would like to invite our community, therefore, to engage in a Thought Exchange aimed at gathering, in the current context, your reflections on the immediate needs, and short- and long-term priorities for the Thames Valley District School Board as we work to oppose racism, eliminate discrimination, and enable equitable access to education for every student. 

I very much hope I will hear more from all of you.  

Mark Fisher
Director of Education

 Open Letter to the Thames Valley community
May 29, 2020

To our Students, Staff, Families and Community: 

We are saddened by recent international news events and the continued spread of anti-black racism. Every day, we ask all students and staff to be caring, cooperative, honest, inclusive, respectful and responsible. We always oppose hate in all of its forms, like anti-black racism. Today, we also need to say that we see you, we are sorry and we are sad.  

We understand that anti-black racism impacts each of us in different ways. If you are struggling, please lean on the caring relationships in your life. Please take care of yourselves, and of each other, in part so that we can be a source of strength for our friends, families and our colleagues. If you need somewhere to turn to, please call Reach Out at 519-433-2023 or 1-866-933-2023.  

Thank you for supporting each other today and every day.  

Mark Fisher, Director of Education
and Senior Administration of the Thames Valley District School Board

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