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Human rights front and centre at Winnipeg School Division next week
Staff, students celebrate diversity, equity and human rights Sept. 15-19
As the Canadian Museum for Human Rights prepares to opens its doors, the Winnipeg School Division
is planning its own big kick-off, with a week of activities emphasizing the ongoing importance of
human rights in their classrooms, communities and around the world.
This special week, called Everybody has the Right, gives students and staff at each of the Division’s 77
schools a chance to celebrate their year-round exploration of human rights and how to make the world a
better place, while welcoming the new museum to Winnipeg.
“Everybody has the Right illustrates the continuous and admirable efforts of the staff and students in our
Division to put human rights on the forefront and integrate it into education for all ages. The Board of
Trustees is pleased to join in celebrating all of our rights during this exciting week,” said Winnipeg
School Division Board Chair Suzanne Hrynyk.
The Division will kick off the week with an official opening event featuring stories from students
involved in human rights initiatives, student dance and musical performances with human rights
themes, and a guest performance by local musician Rachel Ashley, who will share her inspiring antibullying
Guests at the kickoff will also view the new human rights video highlighting human rights and diversity
in the Division.
Visit www.winnipegsd.ca/everybodyhastheright to watch the video and find more
information about the week.
Media are invited to attend this event.
Kickoff date: Monday, September 15 at 10 a.m.
Location: St. John’s High School, 401 Church Avenue, Winnipeg
Other activities and initiatives across our schools from September 15 to 19 will include:
The Everybody has the Right Mosaic Mural, an exciting collaborative project. Students from
every school across the Division will gather throughout the week to design mixed-media canvas
tiles that will be put together to create a huge, single inspiring and thought-provoking art piece
with a human rights focus. Media are invited to attend sessions.
A special Everybody has the Right section in the September issue of Our Schools, the
Winnipeg School Division’s newspaper for students, staff and the community
Assemblies and activities at individual schools, including “Diversity and Equity Walls” where
students can share their thoughts about human rights through words or images, and other student
activities as chosen by each school or class.
“We are pleased to join in the celebration for the opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights
here in Winnipeg,” said Chief Superintendent Pauline Clarke. “The Winnipeg School Division’s student
population is very diverse, and we celebrate this diversity and the importance of treating each other
equally and respectfully all year long. This week gives us the opportunity to highlight our students’
ongoing work and dedication to human rights issues.”
Many students in the Division’s schools spend time bringing attention to human rights causes and
giving back to the community both locally and globally, said Rob Riel, Director of Aboriginal
Education, who also oversees human rights education.
“Our students are already very involved in learning about human rights, and so many of our schools
have groups devoted to human rights issues. Their commitment to celebrating diversity, standing up to
bullying, or doing fundraising or food drives is really incredible. Even our very youngest students get
involved,” Riel said.
As host of the Division’s kick-off event, St. John’s Principal Doug Taylor is excited about the week of
celebrations and about what the Canadian Museum for Human Rights opening in Winnipeg will mean
“In education, it’s important to find ways to move us forward. Talking about human rights is something
we’ve been doing all along at St. John’s, but with the museum opening here it makes it even more real
for our students and staff,” said Taylor.
For more information, contact:
Communications, Winnipeg School Division
(204) 775-0231 or email@example.com
MORE: Human Rights at Winnipeg School Division – By the numbers & FAQ
Human Rights at the Winnipeg School Division – by the numbers
77 – Schools in the Winnipeg School Division
33,372 – Students in the Division
4,095 – Students in language programs (French Immersion, Hebrew Bilingual, Ukrainian Bilingual)
6,672 – Students identified as EAL (English as an Additional Language)
1999 – Year a series of workshops for all Division staff relating to existing anti-racist, anti-harassment
policies and strategies to address them were put in place
9,000+ – Staff who have received training on their obligations and liabilities under the Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Manitoba Human Rights Legislation and the Division’s policies on
intolerance and discrimination since 1999
2012 – Year a new Diversity and Equity Education Policy was adopted
100% – Percentage of new staff who must attend a half-day human rights/anti-homophobia workshop
168 – Students from all Division schools who will participate in the Mosaic Mural human rights art
8 – High schools with diversity clubs and/or gay-straight alliance groups (student-led organizations
devoted to creating safe, accepting, welcoming environments for all students regardless of background,
sexual orientation or gender identity/expression)
7 – Grade in which human rights education officially begins within the curriculum; many teachers
discuss it in their elementary classes much earlier
Why is the Winnipeg School Division celebrating human rights for only a week?
The Division recognizes, celebrates and teaches about human rights all year long. This special
Everybody has the Right week allows us to shine a spotlight on everything we already do and to
collaborate in doing even more. We have planned this week to mark the occasion of the new Canadian
Museum for Human Rights, and we are excited about the additional opportunities for learning and
exploring human rights that having the museum here opens up for our students and teachers.
Why did the Division choose the image of upraised hands for Everybody has the Right?
Hands are a symbol commonly used to represent human rights; in fact the international logo for human
rights is represented by an image combination of a hand and a bird. Hands reaching upwards signifies
hope and freedom, and the group of different sized hands for Everybody has the Right in outline only
also symbolizes the vast diversity of our students.
What kind of human rights training does the Winnipeg School Division provide for staff?
All permanent and term staff attended mandatory half-day human rights/anti-homophobia workshops.
More than 9,000 employees have received training on their obligations and the Division’s expectations
to combat intolerance and discrimination, and as new permanent or term employees are hired, they must
attend a half-day human rights/anti-homophobia workshop.