Community outraged over report on alleged racist Peel school board comment
MISSISSAUGA -- Dozens of community members shouted "shame" as a majority of the Peel District School Board (PDSB) voted in favour of receiving an Integrity Commissioner's report, which found a trustee who made a controversial comment did not violate the Code of Conduct.
A complaint was filed against Trustee Will Davies after he referred to McCrimmon Middle School as "McCriminal" during a conversation with other trustees earlier this year. Several trustees complained that, because of the school's population, the comment was disrespectful and racist.
On Tuesday, the board voted 6-4 in favour of receiving the Integrity Commissioner's report.
Trustee Kathy McDonald voted against receiving the report.
"This report highlights what I've been trying to do for the last five years in my journey in this board, which is to bring attention to the suffering, the hurt and the harm that is happening to black children that seems to be okay with this board and at all levels," McDonald said.
In a statement following the vote, the school board’s chair said that the PDSB “must not interfere with the Integrity Commissioner’s independent process.”
"I can understand how hurt and harm was felt, and how this term could have been perceived as racist," Stan Cameron wrote. "I commit to working alongside my trustee colleagues, staff, students, families and the community to strengthen our commitment to addressing anti-Black racism and all forms of discrimination."
Dozens of community members in the gallery were visibly upset after the vote.
"The Integrity Commissioner herself has done a terrible, terrible disservice to this particular situation," Idris Oroghu, a parent of a child within the school board, said.
Others say this is just one issue of systemic racism within the school board.
The Minister of Education confirms to CTV News Toronto the province will be announcing two people to review the concerns about racism within the board after receiving complaints from board members, parents and community members.
"I think it was a wrong step, it was a step in the wrong direction," Oroghu said. "I hope the ministry is going to put a check on this."