A Message from Our Chief Superintendent | Feb. 24, 2021

Feb. 25, 2021

Anti-Racism | Inclusive Learning and Work Environments

The following message was sent to all CBE employees from our Chief Superintendent of Schools Christopher Usih on Feb. 24, 2021.

Dear Staff,

The CBE is committed to providing inclusive learning and work environments.

Our schools and workplaces must promote welcoming, caring, respectful, and safe environments for students, families and staff inclusive of: physical ability, mental ability, gender identity and gender expression, sexual orientation, cultural and linguistic diversity, race, ancestry, gender, religious beliefs, socioeconomic status, and family composition. These provisions are identified in the Alberta Human Rights Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Recently there have been a few complaints from students and families about the use of racial slurs or descriptions (e.g. the n-word, pejorative terms used to describe Indigenous peoples, racial, ethnic, religious, sex, gender, sexual orientation, and/or disability attributes) by staff through words or in writing.

Let me be clear on our expectations for staff on this matter.

The uttering or writing or use of racial or other slurs or “labels” by staff, including when reading aloud texts, or when quoting course content, is not permitted in the CBE.

Words can hurt a person. Intent does not negate impact.

If source documents or text directly linked to the instruction of curricular outcomes includes inappropriate language, the language itself should not be used in instruction. Teaching why the language is inappropriate remains important.

Students and staff are protected from discrimination under the Charter and further protected in the Education Act and the Alberta Human Rights Act.  Students are entitled to learning environments that are free from racial or other slurs and from hateful symbols or images.

The importance of these protections cannot be understated: the harm from racial or other slurs or epithets, whether used intentionally or read aloud, is the harm of being treated with less dignity, as worthy of less concern and respect because of personal characteristics. 

Staff are expected to comply with CBE Administrative Regulations (AR 6031, AR 6005, AR 4027), and applicable legislation including the Education Act and the Alberta Human Rights Act

The work of CBE CARES (Collaboration on Anti Racism and Equity Supports) is advancing. This work involves hearing from staff, students and parents and caregivers about their experiences with racism, equity and inclusion in CBE. We continue to seek input from students, staff and families and we will be engaging further in system wide planning for next year.

Thank you for your commitment to fostering welcoming, caring, respectful, and safe environments in the CBE.

Christopher Usih
Chief Superintendent of Schools