With the start of the new school year, many parents have expressed concerns for the safety of their children and have questioned the plans being made for students’ return to school this fall. If you have any concerns, here are a few things that you can do to advocate on behalf of your child.
Stay informed: It is important to stay up-to-date with information from the school board so that you are well prepared to plan and make informed decisions. You can find new information about TDSB here and information on how to protect yourself and your children here.
Recruit support: Find support from other parents who may be sharing the same concerns as you. Having more parents involved will not only create strength in numbers but will be great for sharing ideas and resources with one another.
Be organized: Focus on the central questions and the change that you want to see implemented. Having a clear goal in mind will allow you to be prepared when meeting with those who can help you make the change you want to see in your child’s school.
Consult your child: Have a discussion with your child about their thoughts and feelings about returning back to school. Remember that you are not advocating for your concerns only, but also for the needs of your child. Make sure their voice is included.
Raise your concerns at higher levels: Contact your local MP and school board trustee. Utilize members in positions of power that can help bring your concerns forward to those who can make the change. The City Councillor for Ward 13 is Kristyn Wong-Tam who can be contacted at email@example.com. The school board trustee for Ward 13 is James Li who can be contacted at James.Li@tdsb.on.ca and Catholic school board trustee Norm Di Pasquale at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be patient: Schools are, of course, trying to create a safe environment for their staff and pupils, however, after the first week back, adjustments may need to be made. The school has your child’s best interest at heart and will be trying to adapt to the new rules as best they can.
Things to Remember
Trying to make change can be difficult, especially if you feel like your voice is not being heard. It is important to remember to make time to take a break and to allow yourself to rest. You are not alone in this journey and there are many other people that can support you in your efforts to strive for safe conditions.