Ontario Principals Council defends staff accused of racism

An organization representing officials accused of anti-black racism at a Toronto elementary school said it was “confident” that some of the accusations were false and said it had “dedicated educators” before the investigation was completed. He warned against destroying reputations and lives.

A statement from the Ontario Principals’ Council said a parent advocacy group for black children said the children were held in small “isolation cells” on separate occasions by two parents of black students at John Fisher Public School. Came the day after they said they received the claiming report. .

In a statement issued Wednesday, the council said the black student at the center of the Toronto District School Board’s initial investigation had been placed in a small room or confined, as her mother claimed. He said he was confident in the evidence to the contrary.

The council’s statement said it was “increasingly concerned about deliberate misrepresentations intended to destroy the reputations and lives of dedicated educators.”

“If the incident was thoroughly investigated, it would appear that the student in question was never placed in the room depicted in the media reports and the door was never closed or locked. I’m sure the evidence will show.”

The Parents of Black Children’s Organization was first contacted several weeks ago by the mother of a six-year-old black child who attends school.

The mother claimed that her first-grade son had once been sent to the principal’s office, where he was talking to another student and that the principal had told him he was in the way. She is told that the child was taken to a closet-sized room and locked inside.

The board said it first learned about reports of serious anti-black racism at school last week, and the principal, vice-principal, and teachers were all assigned at home to investigate what happened. .

TDSB spokesman Ryan Byrd said Tuesday: “No child should have gone through what is being reported and we apologize for the impact it has had on students and their families.

The council, which represents more than 5,400 principals and deputy principals of the state’s public middle and high schools, said it was baffled by the school board’s decision to issue an apology before the investigation was completed.

It also raised concerns about what it called the “unfair, unfair and harmful practice” of placing principals and deputy principals in their homes before unproven claims have been verified.

The council said, “We urge TDSB to bring these educators back to school at the earliest opportunity.”

“The educators involved in this incident have not been allowed to comment publicly while the matter is being investigated, making the unsolicited media coverage particularly difficult and distressing,” it added. .

In response to the board’s statement, Byrd said the board had no choice but to take the report very seriously.

“While we are aware of the impact these measures will have on the students, staff and families involved, we will investigate as soon as possible and take the necessary steps to fully understand what happened, including hearings from the staff involved.” I’m taking my time.”

Dozens of parents have defended their assigned teachers at home in a signed petition.

However, the parents of the black children said two other parents of the school children had filed anti-black racism allegations after the initial story went public Monday.

Advocacy groups have called on the Ontario Human Rights Commission to launch a full investigation into the experiences of black children in the education system.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on March 8, 2023.

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