Students, staff and parents turned up for an at-times tense public meeting tonight regarding a Toronto District School Board recommendation to implement an Africentric high school program at Oakwood Collegiate.
The main debate centred around the appearance of segregating students versus the notion of using innovative ways — like a black-focused program — to keep students in school. School board reps suggested the drop-out rates among black students is 40 per cent.
Over the weekend, the proposal for the school was leaked to a Toronto media outlet, causing a stir among the school community. The school posted a notice dated March 25, 2011 on its website.
“You may have heard that with the success of the elementary Africentric Alternative School (elementary grades) the Toronto District School Board is now considering a secondary pathway founded on the same guiding principles,” the letter states. “We are currently exploring a recommendation to locate the Secondary Africentric School within Oakwood Collegiate Institute.”
The letter invited the public to attend an information session March 29 to learn about the concept.
“We believe that every school should be the kind of place where communities feel included and have a voice,” the letter stated. “We’re looking forward to a full dialogue on this recommendation at this time.”
Check back later for more on this developing story.
— with files from Farhana Uddin