Addressing Racism and Discrimination in Our School Community

A Statement from the STA Administration

On Monday, February 7, 2022, an inappropriate image was posted on the St. Thomas Aquinas Student Council Instagram account that had the impact of causing harm and trauma to some students, families and staff who are members of the Black community. Shortly after it was posted, the image was deleted, and an apology was issued on this account. 

Racism and discrimination – intentional or unintentional – will not be tolerated, condoned or ignored at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School.   

As a school, we have embedded equity and inclusion in all that we do to ensure a safe and welcoming community for all. Our work is ongoing as we implement proactive practices to create a welcoming and inclusive school environment upholding our school motto of “Aequalitas, Veritas, Excellentia” which translates to “Equality, Truth, Excellence”. 

It is not enough to say we are not racist – we must be anti-racist. We need to work together to dismantle systemic inequity and racism in our school and in the broader community.  

To the students, families, staff and members of our community who are most directly impacted by anti-Black racism, we want you to know that our commitment extends beyond providing support through words on the sidelines. We are committed to working together to put an end to anti-Black racism.  

Our Ongoing Commitment to Addressing Racism in Our School 

Our school board, through our Human Rights and Equity Office, has developed a protocol for addressing incidents of racism and discrimination. It is posted on the HCDSB website under Human Rights and Equity.  

Here is a link to the document, Racism & Discrimination: Responding with Faith, Hope and Love.  

We will continue challenging all staff and students to critically examine and address systemic injustice and inequity in our school community and in society. We encourage students to speak up on issues around anti-Black, anti-Asian and anti-Indigenous racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, ableism, homophobia, xenophobia, and all other forms of oppression.  

We are committed to working with all members of our community to create a culture of inclusion in our school so that every one of our students can feel a deep sense of safety and belonging.  

Supports for Students and Families 

Dealing with traumatic events such as anti-Black racism can be very distressing, most especially on youth. Please do not hesitate to contact your Vice-Principal if your child requires support from our school Social Worker.  

School Mental Health Ontario has developed a number of resources for students, staff and families who may need help in dealing with painful emotions triggered by racism and discrimination.  

Community Mental Health Supports   

The following is an additional list of community supports that your family may wish to access:

We apologize to all who were inadvertently hurt by this post. Please know that we stand with you in solidarity in our commitment to put an end to all forms of racism and discrimination in our school community and in society.   

The STA Administration Team 

Gligoric, JulianaAddressing Racism and Discrimination in Our School Community