Statement: Israeli Hamas War

Statement about the Israeli Hamas War
Posted on 10/10/2023

October 10, 2023—The deadly attacks on Israel over the weekend quickly escalated into a war between Israel and Hamas. Our thoughts are with all those affected. While this news affects all of us, it is especially difficult for Jewish, Palestinian and Israeli students, staff and families. These terrorist attacks come at a time of rising conflict and hate around the world. We recognize that for members of our communities, the impacts are deeply personal and devastating.

Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board serves thousands of students, staff and communities, some of whom have been impacted by decades of conflict around the world. As the school and work week resume today (Tuesday), we re-commit to making our classrooms and workspaces welcoming, inclusive, respectful places to learn and work. As educators and support staff, it is our obligation to uphold human rights and to protect the humanity of every individual so they feel a sense of belonging at school and work.

Some students and staff may need extra support in the days and weeks ahead. Individuals will be impacted differently based on their lived experiences. Students, in particular, may be confronted with horrible images of war through various types of media. Parents/guardians and students are encouraged to contact their child’s teacher or school principal for more information about additional mental health supports available. They may also wish to seek assistance from a qualified medical or mental health practitioner.

Resources to help students and families navigate some of the questions and issues that may arise this week are available on the website. As well, School Mental Health Ontario has two documents about challenging world events:

We are not aware of any protests or planned events at schools and are carefully monitoring this issue. We know that media and social media coverage of traumatic world events can be very distressing, especially for children and teens. We encourage families to monitor media intake.

The following resource provides helpful information for helping children/teens cope with the coverage of catastrophic world events:

As a community of learners, we are deeply committed to continuing to provide inclusive, empathetic and supportive environments. Please join us in this important endeavour.