THREE PILLARS THAT GROUND THE WORK OF PARENTS FOR DIVERSITY
Parents for Diversity sees difference not as something to be tolerated, but rather as something to be embraced. Our children come from diverse family structures, ethnic and religious backgrounds. They have diverse abilities, genders and sexual orientations. Diversity is the strength of our community. Within this notion of diversity, we acknowledge that every child deserves an equal opportunity to thrive as they grow, develop and learn. Our education system must be fully inclusive, meeting the needs inherent in such diversity and eliminating all forms of discriminatory treatment that hinder equal opportunity. Schools must be conscious that, even with best efforts to eliminate discrimination, it will still exist, whether it manifests as unintentional bias, promotion of stereotyping, or demonstration of overt discriminatory behaviour. Acknowledging that discrimination does exist enables schools to taken meaningful steps to address it.
Parents for Diversity is committed to building empathetic school communities, in which students, decision-makers and communities seek to understand the lived experiences of students struggling against discrimination and bias. We must develop an awareness of our own biases and stereotypes and the consequences our perceptions and actions can have on others. This requires school boards, school administrations, teachers, parents and children to sincerely listen to those children and families who say they do not see themselves reflected in their school system, or who otherwise do not feel supported by their school community. By developing curriculum that address the diversity of needs and experiences of our children while simultaneously embracing the richness of such differences, schools can help our young people learn to avoid and to deal with bias, stereotyping, and discrimination.
There are many actors involved in our children’s education. Ministries of education, school boards, trustees, administrators, teachers, and parents are collectively responsible for ensuring our children have a safe, inclusive and nourishing learning environment, one that enables each and every child to realize their individual potential. Collaborative engagement amongst these actors is integral to achieving diversity and inclusion in schools. Parents for Diversity support parents in demanding accountability when schools do not seek and promote such multi-layered engagement, when they do not put sufficient resources and attention into promoting equity and diversity, and when they do not respond adequately to discrimination and bias when they occur. With appropriate policies and procedures, developed in consultation within their communities, schools can help prevent discrimination from occurring in the first place, and then address it effectively when it does arise.