Sistema Toronto is aware of recent news regarding sexual abuse and exploitation in the El Sistema Venezuela program. The Sistema Toronto staff and Board of Directors unequivocally condemn this behavior. When working with children and youth it is absolutely paramount to create safe and healthy learning environments built on trust, and we are deeply appalled to learn that this trust has been used to harm students rather than support them.
Although inspired by the founding philosophy of El Sistema, Sistema Toronto is its own entity and does not have any direct affiliation with the Venezuelan program; however with this news, we will be evaluating our underlying connection to the El Sistema Venezuela movement and the wider issues in the music education community. Sistema Toronto continues to work on ways to ensure safe spaces in our program, and we also commit to working on additional safeguarding policies and practices for the safety of our students going forward.
If any students, families, or community members have questions or concerns about this news, we encourage you to reach out.