Diversity and Respect Week begins Monday, November 16th in New Brunswick schools as part of a provincial effort to support a safe, welcoming and affirming school environment for all students.
Diversity and Respect Week replaces Anti-bullying Week promoted in New Brunswick schools since 2012.
“We wanted to include a broader mandate for schools to celebrate the diversity of their students and of their communities, while focusing upon fostering a culture of respect,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Serge Rousselle. “Schools will be able to focus upon reducing incidents of bullying by emphasizing the importance of respect for others and encouraging understanding for the differences that make students unique.”
The change to Diversity and Respect Week is in alignment with the department’s refocusing of the position of Diversity and Respect Coordinator towards promoting a positive learning environment. The intention is to look at the contextual underpinnings of bullying and harassment in order to be a truly inclusive system.
“Teaching and learning to recognize, confront and prevent racism, misogyny, ableism, homophobia, and transphobia will help to create safe and inclusive learning environments for all children and students,” said Rousselle.
As part of the week’s activities, schools around the province will hold assemblies and other special events, including inviting First Nations dancers and drummers to the school.
Some schools will be celebrating with special projects, including random acts of kindness initiatives, quilts that celebrate diversity within the school and other theme-related classroom activities.
The francophone sector is also launching a new resource, La diversité sexuelle et de genre – Ressource pédagogique inclusive (sexual and gender diversity, an inclusive educational resource), and professional development will be offered to teachers.