A Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) trustee has put forward a motion to develop guidelines and support in the classroom before teaching children the controversial concept of critical race theory (CRT).
Cindy Watson serves the municipality of Cambridge/North Dumfries and is a self-proclaimed believer in servant leadership and that a “board makes better policy when students, parents and staff are involved in the decision making process.”
This is why Watson put forth a motion to the board on critical race theory. The motion, seconded by another trustee, Mike Ramsay, was posted by him on Twitter a few days after it was brought forward.
In a phone conversation, Watson notes that she “doesn’t bring a motion based on whether it will pass or not, I bring a motion based on what the concerns are so at the very least we can have a discussion and build some understanding.”
Watson refers to the Policy Governance Board, which mandates that the board has to adhere to its own policies and, presumably, to bring forward and address parental concerns.
“The motion is about gathering information,” Watson says in a phone interview, “so it needs to be debated. Which could come in June but I put the deadline as September so that it’s clear that I want it discussed before September.”
When asked why the motion was brought forward, Watson refers to the “whereas’s” in her motion, where parents were emailing or calling to “share their concerns [around CRT].”
“We’re hearing more and more complaints and when we hear from parents that they’re pulling their children [from the school system], that’s the concern. There’s a spectrum of what people want so the concern is the guilt and the shame, and the fact that parents/students/staff are feeling that we’re not balanced.”
Citing the motion, it aims to address anti-racist lesson plans being developed in the WRDSB. The motion calls on the school board to prepare a report and presentation on the working definition of CRT and “White Privilege” as they relate to anti-racist lesson plans and references a desire for grade specific plans.
“That’s why the last part of the motion — where it talks about writing a letter to the Minister of Education about the concerns — is really important. Maybe they need to come up with guidelines or they need to be more specific,” Watson asserts.
Watson is hopeful that “there are enough actions [in the motion] that hopefully my colleagues can look at some of them and decide what’s appropriate.”