Why are far-right political networks trying to stack school boards across the country?
Because school boards can issue rules restricting school spending and supports about race, gender, sex education, and identity—or they can protect the rights of teachers and students to talk and learn about these issues. A number of provinces are having elections in the next month. Make sure your school board prioritizes the well-being of all children, regardless of race, gender, or sexuality.
What do school boards do ?
Impacts on LGBTQ2S+ youth
School board trustees can have an enormous influence on spending and policies in schools, as well as what resources are available to teachers and students.
There have already been candidates going after gender-neutral washrooms and change rooms, and resources that educate teachers on trans-inclusion. This puts gender diverse youth at great risk. Research shows that “youth who had access to affirming homes and schools reported much lower rates of attempting suicide in the past year." This means that inclusive schools save lives!
Impacts on Racialised youth and policing
There is a national trend to reduce or eliminate policing in schools in Canada. Major cities such as Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, and Edmonton have all discussed the impacts of having police officers, or School Liaison Officers (SLOs) in schools. Both research and feedback from communities has shown that this has been a good move.
Unfortunately, some of these far-right activists are campaigning to bring back police in schools (or what many schools call “School Liaison Officers”) in the name of creating “safer schools.” But police do not make schools safe. In fact, numerous Bestselling books by prominent writers in Canada such as Policing Black Lives by Robyn Maynard, and The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole, provide numerous stories and evidence of how policing disproportionately impacts Indigenous, Black, and other racialised students.
Committing to safe schools does not mean committing to policing, it means committing to provide resources and support to teachers who have relationships with students and interact with them everyday.
These issues can have huge impacts on kids’ lives!
The far-right has been trying to take control of school boards and education all over North America. This has been going on for years, but this year their campaigns are more coordinated and widespread than ever. Some candidates are branding themselves as “anti-woke,” or championing “parents’ rights,” and are ready at attacking education and resources on climate change, and systemic racism as well.
Our friends at The Canadian Anti-Hate Network have been following these far-right campaigns, and putting together resources on how supportive adults can confront and prevent hate in Canadian school boards during the upcoming elections, like this one that provides information on asking important questions to your school board trustee candidates.
You can find out who is running for trustee in your local school board election by searching on your municipality’s website. Some candidates are very clear about the positive things they support, but some candidates are being told to take down their unpopular and hateful opinions. That is why it is important to really get to know your candidates. For tips on how to ask meaningful questions, take a look at what AntiHate.ca has been sharing to help voters understand more about this issue.
You can also ask questions:
- If elected, how will you defend 2SLGBTQ+ kids rights to privacy, health, and an inclusive education?
- How will you defend the rights of racialized youth and religious minoritized?
- Will you advocate for equity and supports for Indigenous students?
Our fundamental rights are being attacked at every level of government, and school boards are one of the biggest battle grounds. Vote for and support candidates who want to make schools safe for all students regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. Many people do not realize what school boards can do, and many people don’t realize that there is a far-right campaign to take over these governing groups.
Where and when are school board elections happening?
Oct 15: British Columbia
Oct 17: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Oct 24: Ontario
Oct 26: Manitoba
Nov 7: PEI, Yukon
Get out and vote!
For more resources, and information on far-right and anti-trans activists running for school boards, keep an eye on antihate.ca/school_boards