Margaret Lazarus, a Superintendent of Education with the Durham District School Board, warned parents at a Black Educators Network conference in Ajax on Saturday that unless they realize what their responsibilities are, their children will be “going nowhere.”
“We need to understand that our children are losing right now and I believe that they are losing because we are abrogating our parental duties and responsibilities ,” said the veteran Ontario educator.
Lazarus was speaking at the ninth annual “And Still We Rise ” conference at the Dr.Roberta Bondar public school.
She pointed out that “too many of our kids are failing. Too many of our kids are choosing the easy way out. ”
“We cannot allow them [our children ] to close the door.”
” I don’t care what type of job that we want – plumber, dishwasher or whatever it is -we have got to be the best,” she said.
Dealing with behavioural problems, Lazarus said that “our kids sometimes behave so badly that I am embarrassed.”
But she pointed out that ” we can change behaviour.”
She explained that we first have to acknowledge the problem and then ” we have to put steps in place to deal with it.”
She told parents that they need to be proactive and advocate for their children regularly.
” Don’t wait for the teacher to call you.You can pick up the phone and advocate for your children.”
But she warned: “Advocate appropriately.
“Don’t go in [to the school]like a mad Black woman and turn over the desk with steam coming out of your ears,”
“Start with the teacher and if you don’t get satisfaction go to the principal. If you still don’t get satisfaction, go to the superintendent and if you still don’t get satisfaction, then go to the trustee.”
” If you feel that you cannot get your message across, then bring an advocate with you.
“But remember that you are a part of the team.The school wants to work with you to solve problems.”
“Build relationships in the school because if you have a relationship with the principal and the teacher, it is so much easier when you have a problem to work it out together.”
Lazarus was one of several keynote speakers at the conference at which there were workshops and presentations focused on “enhancing learning and development opportunities.”