Melissa Carriere, Juliana SimonMelissa Carriere (BSW 2019, MSW 2021) and Juliana Simon (BSW 2021) of Trans Wellness Ontario discussed providing protective factors to diverse youth in schools during the social justice conference, Friday in the Faculty of Education.

Conference schools teacher candidates in social justice

Educators have a responsibility to the communities they serve, says teacher candidate Keith Trent-Rennick. That’s why he volunteered as one of the student organizers of the Vulnerability, Marginalization, and Education Conference, Friday in the Neal Education Building.

The event brought presenters from a number of organizations to speak with education majors on aspects of social justice, from poverty to the legal system, mental health to Indigeneity.

“We want to teach the whole child,” said Trent-Rennick. “More so than ever, issues of equity and diversity are important to bring to the classroom.”

Sydney Brouillard-Coyle (BMus 2022), a student of women’s and gender studies, presented on the topic “Queering Education: Building Safe Classrooms for 2SLGBTQIA+ Students” and appreciated the opportunity to speak with the future educators.

“The reality is queer and trans students face a lot of challenges in school,” Brouillard-Coyle says. “Finding an ally in a teacher can save lives and change lives.”

It’s an idea Trent-Rennick echoes.

“Social justice in the classroom is not a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching,” he says. “We need diverse voices to look to, to guide us in our careers.”

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