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Toronto Schools A Little More Welcoming for Undocumented Students

Expanding Access to Education Without Fear

Education Not Deportation Campaign Update

This fall the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) - the largest school board in Canada - provided its 558 schools with a full colour poster stating that "All children living in our community, including those without immigration status in Canada, are entitled to admission to our schools"(attached)

Accompanying this poster was a tip sheet with guidelines for office administrators to ensure that no student is denied access to elementary or secondary school. [Download the document below]. If adhered to fully, this means that the TDSB could become a model school board for the principle of 'access without fear' as well as a major pillar of the ongoing campaign to build a Sanctuary/Solidarity City here in Toronto. For Kimberly and Gerald, for Matthew and Rawad, and for all the others without status who have had to fight for their right to education - we dedicate this victory to you.

And make no mistake, this victory is nothing less than the result of three years of struggle. Since getting the TDSB to pass a "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy in May 2007, the Education Not Deportation Campaign which includes OSSTF-D12, students, teachers, and other community groups and organizations have been working tirelessly to ensure that the the policy became concrete practice in schools across the city. This experience has reminded us of the gap between policies and their implementation - and even now, we know the struggle is far from over.

The TDSB has stated that they would produce a video to inform front-line staff on revised enrollment procedures as well as a pamphlet for parents letting them know about the policy. To date, it has not produced either of these important tools. Community media also needs to be engaged by the TDSB to widely publicize their policy.

At the same time, there are many new and exciting ways in which we must push forward and eradicate barriers to accessing education from elementary to post-secondary. If you are a parent, a student or a teacher; go to your schools and make sure that these posters are placed prominently and publicly. Make sure that staff and teachers know that undocumented students are welcome in Toronto schools.

We also need to spread these victories to other school boards, to be inclusive of adult learners, and ensure access to colleges and universities. In order to undertake this important work, we need your support. To get involved, or come to one of our Education Not Deportation meetings, contact us at end@riseup.net.

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TDSB Education Not Deportation Poster.jpg221.58 KB
100903 STUDENT IMMIGRATION STATUS.pdf237.89 KB