OCDSB Student Census
Parents as First Educators wants to alert parents to a new and intrusive type of survey being rolled out in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. Similar censuses were introduced last year in other boards. Many parents contacted PAFE with concerns about the level of detail of personal information requested and the content in the surveys. Please read through this emailer to make yourself aware of what is in the surveys and what has been done by parents to combat them.
What is a student census used for?
The survey is called the student census. Its purpose is to collect identity-based student data for the purpose of boosting equity, diversity and inclusion in the school board. It is entirely OPTIONAL.
The student census follows upon recommendations of the Ontario Education Equity Action Plan which suggests collecting data regarding the following categories: race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, indicators of parental socio-economic status, exceptionalities, immigration status, and language first spoken.
Parents should be aware of the level of detail of personal information that these surveys ask for.
In addition to asking about the student’s religion, sexual orientation, gender etc., the Grand Erie survey asked other questions about diversity in the school, such as how students see themselves reflected in the curriculum, clubs and environment of the school and how they learn about social justice issues at school. It asked questions such as how many bathrooms there are in the home and whether the student has access to a computer and the internet at home.
Parent Success in Grand Erie!
Many parents contacted PAFE with concerns last year about the survey seeking to normalize and proselytizing their children into ways of thinking that they don’t agree with. We then requested parents to contact their principals and trustees and let them know that they found material on the survey to be problematic and that they would be opting their children out of the survey.
At Houghton Public school in the Grand Erie Board, so many parents complained about the survey at their parent council meetings that, after the Parent Council contacted their trustee, the whole school was allowed to opt out of the survey!
This just shows you that many voices working together can make an impact!
Parents Be Aware!
The survey will run in the OCDSB from November 26 to December 13, 2019. It will be sent to parents of children in JK to Grade 6 and will be taken by students in Grades 7-12 at school.
Parents of students in JK- Grade 6 who do not wish to fill in the survey are not required to.
Parents of students in Grades 7-12 may opt their children out by filling out an electronic form by NOVEMBER 8, 2019.
Parents Can Opt Out of the Survey
If you are not comfortable having your child fill out the survey for any reason, it is your right NOT to have them fill it out.
What Else Can I Do?
Please speak to your parent council and ask them to discuss the survey. Ask the council to let your Trustee know that parents find it intrusive, or inappropriate. Write to your Trustee and make your objections known, too, perhaps mentioning that parents rights should be respected and that children shouldn't be filling out personal surveys without parental input, supervision, or permission. Ask Trustees to remove the survey from all schools. Please fill us in here at PAFE so we can alert other parents.
To support PAFE's important work, please make a donation to PAFE today by clicking here.
Teresa Pierre, Ph.D.