Deputy minister, human rights lawyer appointed to review racism allegations at Peel school board
Children are seen playing in a schoolyard. (CTV News Toronto)
TORONTO -- The Progressive Conservative government has appointed a former Ontario deputy minister and a human rights lawyer to conduct an “immediate review” into allegations of anti-black racism within the Peel District School Board (PDSB).
Ontario’s Minister of Education announced the review earlier this month, saying that concerns were brought forth by multiple individuals, including families, students, the board’s director of education, the board of trustees and members of the broader community.
The allegations relate to anti-black racism and “lack of adherence to governance, leadership and human resources practices,” Lecce said.
No further details have been provided regarding the content of the allegations.
In a statement issued Wednesday night, Lecce said that Suzanne Herbert and Ena Chadha will lead a review into the school board. The review will look at how to ensure “effective board governance that promotes equality, increases accountability and transparency, and safeguards the success and well-being of all students.”
"Schools must be safe, inclusive and welcoming places, not only for students and their families, but for the entire community, which is why the need for this review is critical," Lecce said. “We want all students, parents, educators, and staff to see themselves reflected in their schools and school boards, and this review will help the PDSB move forward in this mission."
Hebert served as a deputy minister from 1997 to 2008 before retiring from public service. Since then, she has completed a review of governance and management practices in the York Region District School Board and provided advice to ministries on the adult education system in Ontario.
In addition to being a human rights lawyer, Chadha served as the vice-chair with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario from 2997 to 2015. She is now the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Legal Support Center.
The chair of the PDSB said in a statement that that the board "welcomes the opportunity to work withi the reviewers in an open and transparent manner."
The appointments come a week after an Integrity Commissioner’s report found a PDSB trustee who made a controversial comment did not violate the code of conduct.
A complaint was filed after a trustee referred to McCrimmon Middle School as “McCriminal.”