NEWS RELEASE
For immediate release

Ensuring educational success for racialized youth
THE COMMISSION DES DROITS DE LA PERSONNE ET DES DROITS DE LA JEUNESSE URGES CHANGES IN THE EDUCATION SECTOR

MONTRÉAL, May 11, 2011 – The educational sector must acknowledge the existence of racial profiling and systemic discrimination in schools, and must question the practices and policies that have a negative impact on the educational path, graduation rate, and chances of success in school among racialized or immigrant youth in Québec.

In its Report of the consultation on racial profiling and its consequences, released today, entitled: Racial profiling and systemic discrimination of racialized youth, the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse calls on stakeholders in the educational sector, including the ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS), school administrations, school boards and universities to adopt measures aimed at promoting respect for the right to equality for these youth throughout their school experience.

In its report, the Commission noted that the application of codes of conduct and disciplinary measures in schools can result in manifestations of racial profiling. Racial profiling is the result of prejudices and stereotypes that suggests that members of certain racialized groups, Black youth in particular, are more likely to cause disturbances or threaten the security in a school.

This disproportionate supervision also has an impact on school retention, because the sanctions imposed on them often results in their dropping out of school.

The Commission recommends that school administrations clearly state in their organizational policies that discrimination is prohibited, including in their ways for maintaining order, and that schools review their practices in order to ensure that they are free of discriminatory bias.

In addition, school boards must educate all of their employees, including administrators and non-teaching personnel, with respect to discrimination and racial profiling, and the faculties of education at universities should include mandatory courses to introduce anti-racist and intercultural education to future teachers.

The Commission also noted that some youth from immigrant families and from certain minority groups are diagnosed as special needs students and sent to special classes more often than other students. Such practices are not racial profiling as such, but they clearly reflect a discriminatory bias.

Studies have revealed an alarming situation with respect to students from a Caribbean background whose mother tongue is Creole, such that 17.7% of these students are diagnosed as having handicaps, social maladjustments, or learning difficulties compared to 8.9% for all students. According to the Commission, not only should data be collected and analyzed in order to provide a more detailed statistical snapshot of this situation, but the tools used to evaluate special needs students should be reviewed in order to ensure that they are not tainted by discriminatory bias that results in inadequate classification.

The Commission also formulated more than twenty recommendations aimed at improving welcome classes and francization courses, along with the integration of racialized and immigrant youth, in order to facilitate their educational success. In addition, it recommends the implementation of new measures aimed at supporting newly arrived families and developing better parent-school collaboration initiatives.

To find out more about the Commission’s more than 90 recommendations and the report entitled: Racial profiling and systemic discrimination of racialized youth, please visit www.cdpdj.qc.ca.

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Contact :           Patricia Poirier
                        (514) 873-5146 or 1 800 361-6477 ext. 358
                        patricia.poirier@cdpdj.qc.ca