Dmytro Basmat – Peel District School Board Trustee Candidate (Town of Caledon)
1) What area in Caledon do you live in?
I live in Bolton.
2) Why did you decide to run for the trustee position?
There are a multiple reasons why I decided to run for Peel DSB Trustee. Firstly, I am a university student with a lifelong dream of entering public service, whether it be through an elected position, creating my own non-profit for social advocacy, or working for a lobby group for issues I truly believe in. Thus, as someone who is only 19, I thought I would have a great opportunity to inspire youth to make a difference in their community. Young people have already approached me telling me that they want to run in the next election and I’m proud to be that leading voice for youth in Caledon.
I also believe there are many challenges that Peel District School Board faces, and I am passionate about directing our school board to a more progressive approach. Issues such as the Pride Flag debate, which I intensely supported, will be not issues when I am on the board as they will be dealt with immediately.
Finally, I believe that school boards should be filled with young people that know the issues that youth are faced with on a daily basis. The current representation of youth on Peel’s board is virtually non-existent, and decisions are constantly made by older individuals, including retirees. I want to bring in a youth voice for Peel DSB, a voice that has been through the issues recently and has fresh ideas to conquer the challenges young people face.
3) What is the number one thing that you would like to change and/or improve?
There are two specific issues that I would want to target right away, in both a social context and a logistics context.
Firstly, improving mental health in schools is a must. More resources and training must be provided to Guidance Counselors to help with students suffering from the effects of mental health. My team is also currently developing a costed plan to bring in full-day psychologists into Peel DSB secondary schools. We need to destigmatize the issue of mental health because it’s just as important as physical health.
In terms of logistics issues, the board needs to figure out it’s school bus situation. We have many routes that don’t have permanent bus drivers, we need to help fix this! Students not getting to school at all is a major concern. I’ve heard stories about students taking taxis to school because their bus hadn’t picked them up. We, as Trustees, need to ensure lobbying the newly elected Provincial Government continues to make sure that the issue is dealt with so that students can get to school every morning.
4) What special skills or experience do you bring to the role of School Trustee?
My experience comes in the fact that I have a youth perspective on things. In fact, as I write this, I am the head camp counselor for a group of 70 teens at Camp Sokil. I understand how kids act and what they need to succeed. I take on a personal approach with campers just as I would with students to better understand them. Additionally, my communication skills that I use with parents suit me well to help parents of students in need. Finally, I bring the special skill of youth advocacy to Peel DSB. In fact, I was one of the main advocates for the Peel Youth Charter, something that not only the Peel District School Board accepted, but also elected representatives of over 2 million people in Peel.
For a list of all the registered candidates click HERE.