A Statement from Director of Education, Warren Hoshizaki

Oct 14, 2021

Dear students:

Last week, students at some St. Catharines-area secondary schools held a walkout to raise awareness to incidents of sexual harassment and assault. Through these student actions, we heard a hard truth. That there are students within the DSBN who do not feel safe at their schools, and there are students who do not feel heard. Student safety and student voices are always important to us, so when students tell us they are feeling this way, we must listen, address it, and work to make sure students feel heard.

Students, we want you to know that we do value and respect your voices. Hearing from you is incredibly important and we take what you have to say seriously. We want you to feel encouraged to speak to us at any time, for any situation. You deserve to feel safe, validated, and heard at school.

What we heard last week is that as a school board, we need to make changes when it comes to sexual harassment and assault.

To start, we are currently reviewing our reporting processes to make them simpler and more accessible for students. Our curriculum team will be looking at how education about healthy relationships and sexual harassment and assault are delivered. Education is important for everyone in a school community, and we are planning to provide further education for staff and students about sexual harassment and assault, and the support systems in place that are available to them at their school and in the community. We will also be collaborating with our community partners that have expertise in these areas to work with us on these initiatives.  

Additionally, this December we are launching a School Culture Survey that every student in the DSBN can complete. This will give students the opportunity to share their opinions about their school environments anonymously and openly. We do want to hear from everyone and will be encouraging all students to participate.

These actions are just a starting point. We have learned from you that when it comes to sexual harassment and assault, we must do more and do better. And we will.

Violence or assault of any kind is not tolerated at the DSBN. While we work through this, we urge students to continue using their voices to speak up about issues that matter to them, and to report incidents of sexual harassment and assault. This can be to a trusted adult, any trusted staff member such as a teacher, guidance counsellor or youth counsellor, the Niagara Regional Police, or the Niagara Sexual Assault Centre.

Warren Hoshizaki Signature
Warren Hoshizaki
Director of Education

If students do not feel like they can report an incident of sexual harassment or assault to their school, please contact one of our community partners.

Niagara Sexual Assault Centre
There is someone for you to talk to if you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence either recently or in the past. Speak directly to one of the Niagara Sexual Assault Centre’s support counsellors, who will offer you non-judgmental support, understanding, information and options specific to your concerns. They are here to listen and to help. You are not alone.

24/7 Crisis Line:

Niagara Regional Police
If you have been the victim of a sexual assault and wish to report it to the police, please contact the Niagara Regional Police.

Phone: 905-688-4111