Skip to main content
Greater Essex County District School Board
Building Tomorrow Together Every Learner, Every Day
Anti Black Racism
​​​​​​​​​​​ Board Logo 150 dpi (low res).jpg

How to Respond to the Death of George Floyd and Anti-Black Racism

On June 1, 2020, our GECDSB Chair of the Board of Trustees and the Director of Education released the following statement on a commitment to Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion and Anti-Black Racism.

At the GECDSB we have had a long-standing commitment to social justice education. As educators, we need to provide our students, who are living in a border city,with a safe space to process with their peers and school communities. During this pandemic, it is more difficult to create these spaces for our students to ask questions and have these conversations. Yet, collectively we need to acknowledge what happened and stand together while recognizing we don’t have all the answers.

The resources provided below are just a starting point to let students and their families,particularly our African, Black and Caribbean families, know that we are here, and we are listening.

It has become more challenging to assess how students are doing and how they are reacting to tragic events then if we were in a classroom. It is important to hear what the students are feeling and saying about these events during their time with you on-line.

Discussing a traumatic incident or witnessing incidents of anti-Black racism, can evoke strong emotions. Being a supportive, kind and caring adult can have a positive effect on students.

As a staff member, there are some things to keep in mind:
  • Recognize that every student may have a different reaction to the traumatic events based on their own lived experience and their identities.
  • Listen. Allow students to express whatever they are feeling in a safe place without judgement.
  • Comparing anti-Black Racism and other forms of oppression or your own personal experiences is not appropriate. Now is the time to listen.
  • Recognize that to provide support to students that you have to practice your own self-care.
  • If you have a concern for the student’s mental health, then contact your school administrator.
  • Use the staff that has been assigned to your school to assist.
  • Consider using the resources contained at the end of this document with your students.
Questions to ask yourself:
  • How are you personally doing?
  • What has been your exposure to TV and social media about the death and the protests?
  • How comfortable are you in talking about Anti-Black Racism and being a supportive ally?  How can you educate yourself to be comfortable?
  • Is this a deeply lived personal experience or is it new to you?

Mental Health Supports for Students

The School Mental Health Ontario website has an info sheet on Mental Health Literacy for Educators Helping Children and Youth after Tragic Events which is particularly helpful.
School Board: 
GECDSB social work services are available for consultation and counselling and can be accessed through the school administration as per the Staff Referral Actions for Student Support.

  • Windsor-Essex Counselling Support Line: 519-946-3277-Available 24/7
  • Kids Help Phone : 1-800-668-6868 Text 686868 - Available 24/7
  • Regional Children’s Centre Phone Line : 519-257-5437 Monday-Thursday 8:00 am-8:00pm and Friday 8:00 am-4:30 pm for children and youth (up to 18 years old) and their families.
Culturally Relevant Mental Health Supports:
Black Youth Helpline:1-833-294-8650

Accessing Culturally Relevant School Board Resources for Students:
Equity and Inclusion Office: Rachel Olivero 519-255-3200 Ext.10213
Change Your Future Program: Natalie Browning-Morgan, Kaitlyn Ellsworth
Graduation Coach: Dr. Venus Olla


Anti-Black Racism Bitmoji Interactive Slide  

Locally Produced Resources:
These resources are intended to provide teacher background information on African-Canadian heritage and culture connected directly to specific learning expectations in The Ontario Curriculum: Social Studies/History and Geography (2004). The teaching of African-Canadian history should not be seen as an "event" but rather as an "ongoing process" taking place throughout the school year. The information in these modules is intended to build teacher background knowledge on the contributions of local African-Canadians to Canadian history. It is the hope of the writers that this module will allow students of African Canadian descent to "see themselves" in the social studies and history curriculum and that all students will develop a greater awareness of the many significant contributions local African-Canadians have made to our area and to Canada as a whole.
On this page, you will find lesson plans to help you bring the story of Boomer Harding and the Chatham Coloured All-Stars into your classroom. These engaging, cross-curricular student Mental Health Supports for Students Resources activities are aligned with the following aspects of the Ontario Curriculum: the Ontario Curriculum Social Studies, Grades 1 to 6; the Ontario Curriculum History and Geography, Grades 7 and 8; the Ontario Curriculum Language, Grades 1 to 8; the Ontario Curriculum Canadian and World Studies, Grades 9 and 10 and Grades 11 and 12. Each grade or course begins with an overview of specific curriculum expectations. Following this overview, teacher background information is provided.

Additional Resources: (provided by Shantelle Browning-Morgan, GECDSB Teacher)