2016—2017 · Vol. 44 No. 3



December 6

December 6, 1989, is etched in Canada’s collective memory. For educators, a school shooting is our worst nightmare. I remember coming home that day and turning on the TV to watch the news. Reports of the shooting flashed on the screen. A gunman had entered a classroom at École Polytechnique in Montreal, ordered all the males to leave and then shot the female students. For the next 20 minutes, he roamed the halls targeting only women, shooting 28 and killing 14. My sister was a university student in Montreal at the time. I vividly remember the fear I felt as I called to make sure she was safe at home, and my relief when she answered. So many others lost a daughter, a mother, a wife or a friend to gender-based violence that day.

Red roseEvery year now, December 6 is a day to remember and commemorate the lives of the 14 young women who were killed simply because they were women. We pledge to take action to encourage the elimination of gender-based violence in our schools and our communities. We pledge to promote gender equality to our students and encourage an awareness of important women’s issues in our classrooms and communities. We commemorate these 14 young women with displays in our workplaces, and invite male staff and students to sign the White Ribbon Campaign poster, signifying their commitment to end violence against women.

In spite of all our efforts, sexism remain deeply entrenched in our culture. Just to the south of us, a blatant misogynist has been elected president. We must continue to speak out against rape culture and the culture of silence that discourages victims of violence from speaking out and making official complaints. We must all take the pledge to do what we can to end violence against women.

/Teresa Marrello is a retired teacher from District 27, Limestone and sat on the Status of Women Committee.

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