Submission in regards to OCDSB motion to hire a Jewish Equity Coach to identify&combat antisemitism
Chair and Trustees,
Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
The Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation writes to express strong support for the motion to appoint a Jewish Equity Coach, which is to be considered at your Board meeting on January 17th, 2023. We submit the following observations in support of the necessity for this new position:
The OCDSB is the only school board that was judged by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario to have discriminated against a student for failing to properly address a series of antisemitic incidents over several years, for which the student was awarded damages.
The OCDSB is the only school board that advised its Jewish students to hide in a safe room during student demonstrations calling for the destruction of Israel instead of taking decisive action to disallow or discourage the hateful demonstrations which intimidated and discriminated against the Jewish students.
The OCDSB is the only school board whose officials did nothing when a student corrupted an Indigenous land acknowledgment at a graduation ceremony to rant at “Zionists” for “stealing her land”.
The OCDSB is the only school board whose senior staff conspired to exclude the Hon. Irwin Cotler, Canada’s Special Envoy on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism Holocaust denial, from a professional development program for teachers, because Prof. Cotler supports the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism as part of his core mandate. Then the Board engaged in a cover-up of the reasons, which was only revealed by a Freedom of Information proceeding brought by one of our organization’s board members.
The OCDSB is now the only school board district that we know of in which students have been criminally charged with an alleged hate crime. Two students of Sir Robert Borden Collegiate Institute were charged with promoting hatred, criminal harassment and mischief in the alleged incident.
It is clear that there is a chronic and severe antisemitism problem at the OCDSB. It is crucial that the Board move forward and implement the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism as adopted by many Western governments, including the Canadian, most provincial governments, and other school boards across the country without delay.
Furthermore, if there was ever a school board in this province in desperate need of a full time Jewish Equity Coach, this is the one. We look forward to a positive outcome in your deliberations, and much improvement in addressing Jew hatred within the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board at all levels.
Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation