How would you help to advance the TRC Calls to Actions for Educations through your role as a Regina Board of Education Trustee?
Cindy Anderson: We need to continue to follow the recommendations from our Elders Advisory Council, some of who are victims of residential schools. I do not presume as an individual what the Board of Education should or should not do without the advice of our Elders Council.
Stephen Safinuk: I think it is imperative that we reach out to Indigenous leaders in our community on a regular basis on how best to close identified educational achievement gaps. I would push to get more indigenous history and culture added to our curriculum, centered around reconciliation.
Do you support Tristan Durocher’s call for meaningful action on the suicide crisis, particularly among young Indigenous people, in this province. What do you see as the roles of schools in suicide prevention?
Anderson: Yes, I support his call for meaningful action, this is a crisis. We definitely need more than school involvement but on the school level, more significant resources for our young people such as indigenous advocates, elders, student counselors, psychologists and strong mentorship.
Safinuk: I am 100% behind Mr Durocher’s call for meaningful action on the suicide crisis. As a mental health advocate who openly discusses his battle with depression, I know how important it is that we do everything we can to end the stigma around mental health, especially in our most at-risk communities. More education around mental health and its effects on society can go a long way towards prevention.
We are in the midst of a global and local reckoning around racism, colonialism and policing. Do you believe that police belong in schools in Regina? How do you define “defund police?”
Anderson: Yes, I have witnessed first hand school resource officers providing positive community and student relationships.
School Boards have nothing to do with police budgets, but positive community programming is beneficial for both communities and at risk youth.
Safinuk: While I do believe the police service belongs in our schools, I believe it should be in a more limited capacity, while using those funds to improve the health resources available in our schools.
Defunding the police means re-allocating funds normally aimed at the police service to resources better suited to handle certain situations (ie mental health resources or addiction services).
Do you think public schools should recognize Pride annually? As a Regina Board of Education Trustee, would you support to formally protect the rights of schools to recognize Pride week and fly the Pride flag annually?
Anderson: Yes, of course. I was one of the 3 trustees that supported this motion vigorously, diversity is important in education.
Safinuk: I would support any motion that helps members of the LGBTQ2S+ community in our schools feel safe, respected, and loved. A regular show of support can help make students learning to navigate their gender identity and sexuality, feel welcome.