HWDSB Adopts All Recommendations from Independent Trustee Code of Conduct Review
Hamilton, Ontario – February 3, 2021: Following the delivery of the third-party, independent investigator’s final report and recommendations based on a Student Trustee complaint of breach of the Board’s Code of Conduct, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) Trustees voted to adopt all 12 recommendations.
The investigator’s final report and recommendations are being made public alongside the release of this statement. Trustees received the report and discussed its findings and recommendations during three meetings of the Board on January 27, January 28, and February 2, 2021.
HWDSB Board Chair Dawn Danko shared the following statement:
“The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board is deeply committed to fostering an environment built on respect, transparency and accountability. Every student, employee, and community member has a right to feel safe and welcome in our schools, and in our Boardroom.
In response to allegations from our former Student Trustee Ahona Mehdi, we retained an independent investigator, with extensive experience reviewing other school boards and organizations on similar issues. The investigator’s report clearly details that we failed to create a supportive and accepting environment for Ms. Mehdi. For that, on behalf of the Board, we apologize to Ahona Mehdi. We can, and must, do better.
Confronting systemic and anti-Black racism is a challenge for all of us. But one we must meet head on, not only as individuals, but also a Board.
The HWDSB Board of Trustees has spent significant time reviewing the contents of the report and we are fully committed to implementing all 12 recommendations. This includes mandatory annual governance training, providing additional support and mentorship for Student Trustees, and mandatory ongoing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) training for all Trustees.
Implementing these recommendations will build on the important steps we have already taken as a Board to create a more equitable and accepting environment. These steps include:
- Continuing our multi-year Equity Action Plan;
- Hiring a Human Rights and Equity Officer;
- Creating a Human Rights and Equity Community Advisory Committee to work with students, parents/guardians, and community organizations in identifying and addressing systemic barriers in schools and classrooms; and
- Providing ongoing anti-racism and anti-oppression training to our trustees, senior leaders, and staff.
Our hope is that the work done to date, combined with the report recommendations, will help establish a more positive and inclusive culture in our boardroom, workplaces, schools and communities. We have critical work ahead of us.”
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Shawn McKillop, APR
Manager, Communications and Community Engagement
Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board