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Message from the Director of Education
Message from the Director of Education

April 17, 2020

Regrettably, ​we have become aware of an incident of anti-Black racism that occurred during an online video/call at one of our schools with approximately 40 Grade 12 students. That this took place in our schools is extremely upsetting and another reminder of how important the work to combat anti-Black racism is in our communities. 

This incident took place earlier this week and was directed at a secondary school principal. This hate won’t be tolerated and we are taking it seriously. Upon learning of the incident, the Superintendent and Associate Director notified the community and outlined the steps the Board and school are taking. An investigation is underway to ascertain who uttered the anti-Black racist slurs, and we have reported this incident to York Regional Police. We encourage anyone with information to come forward through the anonymous online reporting tool Report It, or by emailing cec.east@yrdsb.ca.

In addition to investigating this incident, the school will develop a plan to address anti-Black racism. This will become a part of its ongoing work that was highlighted on September 23, when the entire staff engaged in professional learning about anti-Black racism and how it affects students, staff and the entire school community. As well, the school will work in collaboration with the Board’s Inclusive School and Community Services team to support the students and staff who were directly affected by this incident and to further educate students and staff around issues of equity and inclusivity.

I will personally be looking for an opportunity to speak with the students affected by this incident in the near future. The Board is also reviewing processes for participation in video/online conversation to prevent such incidents in the future and to ensure expedient investigations. 

I’m sorry for the hurt this has caused, directly to those who were present on the video call and to the broader community who feel the hurtful effects of anti-Black racism. We are all disappointed in these incidents. We are providing support to the principal, who was specifically targeted, and others affected by this incident of hate. As mentioned in the letter sent to the school community, anyone who wishes to receive support for their child’s well-being is encouraged to reach out to their schools so that appropriate resources may be provided. 

 
Sincerely,
 
Louise Sirisko
Director of Education
 
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