Statement by the Nova Scotia Teachers Union


Anti-Black racism is real. The police brutality that murdered George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless others is not exclusive to the United States of America. It is a generational, every day issue in Nova Scotia too.

While the Nova Scotia Teachers Union condemns this, it is not enough to condemn the racism in others without addressing the racism in your own house and heart.

Anti-Black Racism in Nova Scotia exists in the classroom too - for Black students, families, teachers, principals and school staff.

Teachers cannot call themselves allies to the #BlackLivesMatter movement if we do not examine our own biases, consciously and intentionally change our thoughts, practices and resources and adopt a restorative and humble posture when we fall short.

If our own classrooms, workplaces and teaching do not change, we cannot expect Anti-Black racism to end in wider society.

For Anti-Black racism to end, our solidarity must deal with the concerns of Black teachers and staff within the system. We must create intentional spaces for Black leadership within our union. We must each check our thoughts, words and behaviours towards our Black colleagues that are harmful, consciously and unconsciously.

In our classrooms and schools, we must each check our biases, materials and practices to eliminate the generational achievement gap, disproportionate rates of discipline, expulsion and placement on Individual Program Plans for Black learners. We must adopt new beliefs, approaches and resources that affirm and foster the excellence that exists in every Black student.

Because teachers are viewed as moral and social leaders within our communities, we must embrace, now, wholeheartedly, the work of tearing down anti-Black racism in Nova Scotia. It cannot wait any longer.

The Nova Scotia Teachers Union hurts with our Black and Brown siblings all over, and especially here at home.

We are resolved to work beside you to see that the harms of anti-Black racism end in our time.

Classrooms and schools that are just and equitable for Black students, teachers, staff and families require that we be willing, persistent and humble enough to try again, fail again and then to fail better until justice prevails.

Because 9,300 teachers, school counsellors and school-based specialists know that every last Black teacher, student, staff member, Nova Scotian and life matters, that’s what we will do.

Paul Wozney,

Nova Scotia Teachers Union