Message from the Director - May 23, 2024

Limestone Learning Foundation
Message from the Director - May 23, 2024
Posted on 05/23/2024
Message from the Director - May 23, 2024

A version of this message is available to translate into additional languages.

Dear Families,

It is hard to believe we are approaching the end of May and just over 5 weeks of the 2023-24 school year remain. I hope you are enjoying the warmer weather as we quickly move through the spring. We have some updates that we would like to share with you:

PPM 128 – Cell Phone Usage and Vaping on School Property

Back in April, the Ministry of Education shared with school boards an important update to Policy/Program 128: The Provincial Code of Conduct and School Boards Code of Conduct regarding the restricting/limiting cellphones and vapes in schools.

It should be noted that cellphone usage has always been restricted in Limestone classrooms to only being used with the classroom educator’s permission. In addition, vaping has never been allowed in schools nor on school property.

Leading up to September 2024, more information will become available and will be shared with families, including adjusted Board policies regarding cell phone usage, vaping on school property, and strengthened enforcement.

We will be working with public health to share more information related to the mental health impact of excessive use of social media applications and the physical health implications of vaping.


AccessAbility Week - May 27-31, 2024

Limestone is celebrating National AccessAbility Week from May 27 to 31, culminating in the Red Shirt Day of Action for Accessibility and Inclusion. Limestone District School Board (LDSB) will support Red Shirt Day of Action on May 29, 2024. Students are encouraged to wear red to support Canadians living with disabilities on that date.

This week also allows us to draw attention to the local Inclusive Play Project. This group is raising awareness and funds to support the development of a fully inclusive playground in the Kingston area. To learn more and to find out how you can get involved, please visit the Inclusive Play Project website.


Prohibiting the Use of the N-Word

LDSB has developed a document for staff and students that addresses the prohibiting of slurs and epithets, with a particular focus on the N-word. Slurs and epithets are hurtful words or names used to discriminate, which can cause harm and create unwelcoming environments for students, staff, and our school communities, as well as violate the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Recognizing that all racial slurs cause harm and impact people, this document, developed in consultation with LDSB racialized students, staff affinity groups, and the Umoja Black Community Group, is specifically addressing the use of the N-word and other slurs and epithets that target Black people for many reasons included within the document.

To read the document and learn more, please visit Prohibiting the Use of the N-Word, and watch the accompanying video. It should be noted that based on the 2020 Student Equity Census and data collected through the LDSB Human Rights Complaint submissions, anti-Black racism continues to be an issue in area schools and the broader community. No person (student, families, or staff) should have to be exposed to racist comments in schools or in the community.

By addressing the use of such language within our learning and working environments, we create spaces that empower individuals, promote equity, and celebrate diversity. In addition, it should be noted that based on the Ontario Human Rights Code, provincial policies, and the Education Act, acts and expressions of hate based on the protected grounds in the Ontario Human Rights Code are subject to significant consequences for perpetrators.


Pride 2024

The Limestone Education Centre, and all schools across our district, are recognizing Pride Month in KFL&A by flying the Progressive Pride Flag for the month of June. In addition, Limestone will be participating in both the Greater Napanee Pride Parade on June 1, 2024, as well as the Kingston Pride Parade on June 15, 2024. Staff, students, and families are all welcome to join Limestone in one or both parades.

Limestone is committed to ensuring everyone sees themselves in Limestone by feeling safe with a strong sense of belonging and connection, and these are just two ways we are demonstrating that support. In our schools, we do not tell students who they should be, but welcome them as they are. We do this by focusing on their academic learning and fostering feelings of belonging as expected in the Ontario curriculum and the Ontario Human Rights Code.

In the past, we have had some questions about flag protocol during the month of June and throughout the school year. The Government of Canada indicates that the manner in which the Canadian flag is displayed in Canada is not governed by legislation. The rules applied by the government are not mandatory for individuals or organizations, they simply serve as guidelines.

The board has confirmed with Heritage Canada that where schools or education centres only have one mast/flagpole, it is acceptable to fly the Progress Pride flag beneath the Canadian flag. Showing our support for the 2SLGBTQ+ community does not diminish our respect for the Nation’s flag, it just makes it clear that all members of that community are welcome in Limestone schools. Flying the Progress Pride flag is about symbolizing the inclusive culture within Limestone. As a publicly funded institution, like all school boards in Ontario, we have a legal and moral obligation to be welcoming to all and try to ensure everyone sees themselves in Limestone.

Harassment, discrimination, and hate have no place in Limestone schools. As a school board, we are committed to providing all students, staff, and families with a positive school community environment.

As a reminder, the LDSB has the Student Human Rights Incidents and Complaints tool available to students and families to report any incidents or complaints.


Transportation for the 2024-2025 School Year

If your student currently has school bus transportation and there is no change to their school or address in September, families do not need to take any action nor reapply for transportation through Tri-Board Student Transportation. Current school bus transportation will remain in place unless they are contacted directly by Tri-Board.

However, if your student is attending school for the first time in 2024-2025, is changing schools, or needs to change school bus pick-up/drop-off locations, then families will need to apply for transportation by August 11, 2024, to ensure that transportation is in place for the first day of school in September. For full details, please visit the Tri-Board website.

I wish all Limestone students and families an enjoyable last few weeks of the 2023-2024 school year. I know that many activities and celebrations will be occurring in schools over the next few weeks for people to participate and enjoy.

All the very best,

Krishna Burra

Director of Education

The Limestone District School Board is situated on traditional territories of the Anishinaabe & Haudenosaunee.