In the days since the death of Queen Elizabeth, there has been much discussion around the world (including here in Ontario) regarding fitting gestures in communities and schools, to mark the passing of a Sovereign who has served the Commonwealth, and as Canada’s head of state, for seven decades.

Each time the Queen appointed a new Canadian governor general — including Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Mary Simon, our first Indigenous governor general — we were reminded of Canada’s unique relationship to the Commonwealth countries around the world, and the United Kingdom.

Accordingly, at the direction of the Ontario government, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board will honour Queen Elizabeth on Monday September 19th at 1:00 pm with a moment of silence in our board offices and throughout our schools.

As always, teachers will need to use their professional judgement to consider the complicated and complex relationship that has existed between the Crown and Indigenous and racialized Canadians, which may impact students in our schools.

In every setting, it will be important to strike an appropriate balance between an observance of respect, and a recognition of how certain rituals of remembrance may impact individuals and communities whose lived experience is not one of support for the British Monarchy.

In a faith-based educational setting such as ours — in which our schools stand as “heart of the community”, and promoting “success for each” and creating “a place for all” is a hallmark of all we believe and do — we hold space for both our continued action on Truth and Reconciliation, equity and inclusion, and a dignified recognition of the woman who so selflessly gave to our nation; our Queen.

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