Toronto District School Board investigating teacher who allegedly used anti-Black racial slur

A teacher at an east-end Toronto high school has been placed on home assignment for allegedly using a racial slur during a class discussion on racism.

In a letter to parents and students on Thursday, the prinicpal at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute & Native Learning Centre East said the school takes the allegations very seriously as the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) investigates the incident.

“During a discussion, it was reported that an anti-Black racist slur was used by a staff member,” Saby Chandi wrote.

“As soon as this incident was brought to our attention, we took immediate steps to address it and we continue to investigate.”

In a statement emailed to CBC Toronto, the TDSB said it was made aware of the incident on Nov. 25, a few days after it allegedly occurred at the school, located on Guildwood Parkway near Kingston Road and Markham Road in Scarborough.

Ryan Bird, the TDSB spokesperson, said the teacher was sent home on Nov. 30 after concerns were raised by students. Bird said according to the board’s initial investigation, the conversation in which the teacher had allegedly used the slur was with a small group of students.

“We’re committed to providing a safe and positive learning environment for all students and we regret the harm this incident caused to members of our school community,” Bird said.

Students holding signs at an anti-Black racism rally outside of Parkdale Collegiate Institute on Nov. 13, after a teacher — who is no longer employed by the board — wore blackface to school for Halloween. (CBC)

The school’s principal said support and counselling are available to any students affected by the incident.

“We want to be clear that racism and all forms of discrimination are unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our school community,” Chandi’s letter reads.

The investigation comes one month after dozens of parents and students rallied outside Parkdale Collegiate Institute, calling on the board to address and put an end to anti-Black racism in Toronto schools.

The rally happened after a teacher — who is no longer employed by the board — wore blackface to school for Halloween.

“As we move forward, we will also be working closely with TDSB Equity Advisers to continue to deepen our teaching and learning around equity and inclusion, and to establish new strategies and tools for addressing anti- Black racism,” Chandi said.

“We will also focus our efforts on supporting students to ensure they feel comfortable and empowered to report all incidents of racism and discrimination.”

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