The York Region District School Board (YRDSB) has apologized to a parent after saying it failed to respond to complaints about racism and the use of racist slurs towards the parent by a former school counselor.
“The council acknowledges the ministerial review report’s conclusion that the examiners heard parents and community members characterize the council’s responses to their complaints as hostile, contemptuous, arrogant and inappropriate,” said the acting principal. from the YRDSB, Kathi Wallace, at a board meeting on Tuesday night.
“The council apologizes to parents and community members that this is how they experienced the council’s response to human rights complaints, including complaints about anti-black racism and is committed… to taking proactive steps to improve its response to such questions. “
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The apology follows two incidents of racism and Islamophobia, prompting the Ontario Ministry of Education to launch a review of the YRDSB and make 26 recommendations to help resolve issues and improve confidence of the public in the council.
One incident involved a principal in Markham who had shared anti-Islamic messages online and the other centered on Georgina’s school counselor Nancy Elgie, who used the N word to refer to Charline Grant, the mother of a student black. Elgie ultimately resigned her post after the incident.
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Grant also filed complaints with the Ontario Human Rights Commission about the way his children were treated at school. The body recently held a hearing on the matter.
Meanwhile, in Tuesday’s meeting, Wallace spoke directly to Grant.
“The board also acknowledges the review’s criticism… of its inability to respond appropriately to the use of racist slurs towards a parent by a former director. The Board of Directors apologizes to Charline Grant personally and her family for this failure, ”she said.
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“[It] Also apologizes to members of the community who were affected by this comment and the failure of the board to respond appropriately and, in particular, the board apologizes to members of the black community.
After Wallace’s statement at the board meeting, Grant approached her and the two kissed.
“I was like, ‘Well, this looks like a closure. I feel satisfied. I feel justified. I feel like the board is finally going in the right direction and I’m grateful for that, ”Grant said after the meeting, adding that Wallace called her on her first day with the board. administration after being hired on an interim basis. During this conversation, she asked to meet to find a way forward.
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“She wasn’t there when my kids were hurt – when I was hurt – and she apologized personally, it felt good and I appreciate it.”
Grant said there was still a lot of work to be done to tackle student discrimination, but said she and her children have seen improvement on the board.
With files from David Shum
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