Dear Fellow Frankland Parents,
Racial issues, in particular racism directed toward Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPoC), have received greater attention in the past months. Horrified by the events we have witnessed in the U.S. and Canada, including but not limited to the killings of George Floyd and others, and inspired by the world-wide anti-racism protests, we, the members of the Frankland School Council, wanted to follow the lead of many others by taking a public stance against racism in all its shapes and facets. We believe in the movement toward a non-acceptance of silence or ‘refraining from speaking out’ and we see it as our duty as a school community to set the right example for our kids by formally stating our position against racism.
We spent the last weeks and months listening, reflecting, and thinking about this issue. Despite all other current challenges – such as navigating a new school year in the middle of a pandemic, as well as provincial funding challenges that will continue to impose on our children’s’ education – we want it to be stated, unequivocally and firmly, that it is our intent to continue focusing our attention on this topic. We see it as our duty as parents and community members to set up the right messaging and frameworks that will help guide our community members’ actions and steer us in a direction of full inclusivity and integration.
For us, it starts with being realistic and open about the fact that racism exists at Frankland as it does anywhere else. This goes side-by-side with seeing and valuing the inspiring works of many of our teachers and the leadership in educating our children on this topic and guiding their actions toward inclusivity and appreciation of diversity. Yet, we feel that the School Council has to take a more active role, and, with this letter, we want to formalize our intent to do exactly that. It will take more reflection and discussions to lay out a strategy and to formalize the right tactics and to listen and collect feedback from those Frankland families, teachers, staff and other community members that are racialized.
We can all begin right now to effect change with our everyday actions. For us, this starts with taking a conscious effort to see and hear racial inequality and inequity when it happens and to speak out about it.
When the new school year starts, we ask you to make it your conscious and active goal as parents to engage and befriend those families in our Frankland community that you know the least about and that you might think are the most different from you. As a long-time Frankland parent of a recent graduate and a child in Grade 5, I know that Frankland parents go above and beyond when it comes to the growth and enrichment of their kids. Making sure that our children are surrounded by diversity – whether that is along the dimensions of race, income, physical abilities, family structures, religious beliefs, or the diversity stemming from our international families and the foreign languages they speak, just to mention a few – is a crucial way in which we can enrich our children’s growth, learning experiences and mindset. We all can learn the most from people who are different from us, not those that are like us.
Our council members make a firm commitment that, with the start of the new school year, we will make this effort in both ways: first and foremost, by impacting change in a structural manner through the tools and tactics available to the school council, and, no less important, by creating a culture of inclusivity in our everyday interactions. I don’t know how much change we can truly effect, but I know one thing: we can let our kids see us working on this issue. I hope you will join us!
If you would like to get involved in this initiative, please reach out to me or via social media. And look for more information coming in the fall. There are lots of ways to get involved at Frankland School. Be sure to stay connected via our Blog, Facebook Pages and Instagram.
Jen Volk, on behalf of the members of the Frankland School Council
Chair, Frankland Community School Council