School trustees from the Waterloo Region District School Board have approved a new human rights policy.
There was no discussion of the new policy on Monday evening as the directors approved the minutes of the last committee meeting on April 19, formally putting the new policy in place.
Deepa Ahluwalia, human rights and equity advisor to the board, told CBC KW last month that the policy is to ensure that everyone’s basic human rights are respected.
“People are discriminated against and harassed because of their race, religion or gender identity,” she said. “We decided that we wanted to create a human rights policy to emphasize human rights and to really solidify our commitment to create an organizational culture based on human rights principles. “
The board has in the past used a policy of equity and inclusion, Ahluwalia said, but over the past year she has said that they have come to realize that fairness and rights of humans are different.
“An environment respectful of human rights”
The policy covers complaints of discrimination or harassment suffered by students and employees.
He says people cannot be harassed or discriminated against for a number of reasons, including:
- Gender identity or expression.
- Sexual orientation.
- Place of origin.
- Benefit from public housing assistance.
- Family or marital status.
“The policy also prohibits discrimination or harassment based on any combination of these grounds,” a draft of the policy reads.
The policy also states that the school board “has a duty to maintain an environment that is respectful of human rights and free from discrimination and harassment for all employees and individuals.”
The newly approved policy will be added to the WRDSB website in the coming days, staff said.
Ahluwalia said the policy will impact students and employers by helping to build trust with racialized and marginalized groups who have felt their concerns about the school system go unheeded.
“I really hope that through this process, we can start to regain that trust and really demonstrate that we want to resolve these situations and that we are committed to doing so and that we take these complaints very seriously,” he said. she declared.
Listen to the full interview with Deepa Ahluwalia:
Morning Edition – KW7:22WRDSB develops human rights policy