The Lester B Pearson School Board has appointed two commissioners to better represent diversity within the board on Monday.
Alison Saunders and Malik Shaheed have been unanimously voted by the board as commissioners. Saunders is a marketing and communications expert whose been part of the board as a parent since 2012, according to her LinkedIn page.
Shaheed is the director of the Youth Stars foundation. In the past, he has worked as an integration aid for the board.
The appointments are part of a larger effort to identify and fight racism within the board.
“I think we’re (now) in better shape (to) move forward as a school board and respect our need to be much more representative of the wider spectrum and diversity of the community we serve,” said board chairperson Noel Burke.
This comes after the board announced in June that it would review its policies and create an action plan to tackle racism and discrimination.
The motion came after a video published by two teens who attended John Rennie High School in Pointe-Claire last year showcasing racial slurs and insults towards Black people sparked condemnation.
The board’s resolution acknowledged that there is racism and discrimination within the school board.
“We are in fact recognizing we’re part of the problem but certainly not all of the problem,” Burke said in June.
The resolution also mandated the creation of a task force composed of administrators, commissioners, staff, students and representatives of minority communities to oversee the creation of a comprehensive action plan addressing all forms of racism and discrimination within the school board.
Dr. Myrna Lashley, a highly regarded professor and researcher was selected to chair the board’s task force.
— with files from Global News’ Gloria Henriquez
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