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'I'm scared to go to work': Mississauga teacher alleges violence, fear inside middle school

A Mississauga teacher who penned a letter, posted anonymously to social media, detailing troubling allegations targeting a middle school is speaking out in the hopes of making the school a safe learning environment.

The claims highlight a climate of violence at Tomken Road Middle School that has students and staff fearing for their safety.

“Every morning I wake up and I’m scared to go to work,” the teacher told CTV News Toronto in an interview Wednesday. “I fear to walk down the hallways and possibly putting myself in a position where I have to have a dangerous interaction with a student.”

“I wrote the letter because I fear for the safety of our students,” they said. “I’m devastated and there have been so many days I’ve just cried because I’m so sad for the kids.”

CTV News Toronto has agreed not to name the teacher and protect their identity, for fear of reprisal after they posted a list of allegations over the weekend.

The teacher alleges the school, located in the Applewood Heights neighbourhood with more than 900 students attending classes, is in a state of crisis, adding staff and students from Grades 6 to 8 face countless unsafe interactions daily.

“The climate of our school is one of violence, fear and is well on its way to being one of long lasting trauma for many students,” the letter reads. “We write this letter as a desperate call for help to make changes to our learning environment in order to make it the safe place it once was.”

Among the claims of disorderly conduct since September are students defecating on the bathroom floor and rubbing feces on the wall, students writing hateful speech targeting teachers’ ethnicities and uttering homophobic slurs, students threatening physical violence to staff members or other students, along with filming and distributing fights taking place before, after and during school hours.

The teacher said the issues began during the last school year and snowballed into this year.

“Unfortunately, it’s gotten to a place now it’s uncontrollable.”

In a statement, the Peel District School Board (PDSB) said the safety and well-being of its students and staff is top priority, adding investigations are underway over the letter’s accusations.

When it comes to specific allegations, the school board told CTV News Toronto student suspensions have taken place, adding the superintendent was at Tomken Road on Tuesday to facilitate meetings with staff.

“They need to put some systems in place,” said parent Maryam Iftakhar. “Since I take four boys in my car, they’re discussing things like this happened, and this person did this, and girls fights, and boys fights, and throwing balls at the teacher.”

“I can’t believe that kids this young are involved in all of this. It’s shocking,” said parent Kalpana Venkat.

The teacher said the superintendent only came to speak with teaching staff at the school after the letter was made public.

“We need help. Lives are on the line, it’s only going to escalate,” they add.

The teacher said staff want consequences for misbehaviour, which is made more difficult since new provincial directives were put in place before the pandemic, addressing racism and dysfunction in Peel schools.

Education minister Stephen Lecce’s office said the province is investing millions to combat school violence, but boards are responsible for daily operations at schools.

As for the letter, his office said they understand the frustrations of the person who typed it and the board is addressing their concerns.


The teacher said the allegations revolve around a small group of problematic students, adding they influence other students to act poorly.

“When the other students see that there are no consequences and there is no discipline, other students feel they have complete right to disrespect teachers and our school community,” the teacher said.

“We can also confirm that, of the incidents named in the letter, there is not widespread school community participation,” said the school board.

In addition to more consequences, the teacher said they want more parents to get involved in addressing issues, and more resources to support students that put other students and staff in dangerous situations.

According to the PDSB, the superintendent and several departments have worked consistently with the school’s students, educators, and administrative team to on how to problem solve together when incidents occur at the school, to support improved teaching and learning, and to encourage student engagement.

The school board also said the superintendent has made several visits to the school to meet with the administration team and families of students of concern.

“We are committed to ensuring that our students and school staff learn and work in a safe school environment where students thrive and flourish and staff encourage student success,” PDSB said.

CTV News Toronto reached to the local teachers’ union on the matter but did not receive a reply in time for publication.

In a new statement from the school board on Friday, they said "following the circulation of this anonymous letter, the superintendent has been present in the school community on a daily basis working collaboratively on plans to forge a path forward and cultivate a safe and respectful learning and working environment that works for everyone."

Adding that, "The behaviours described in the anonymous letter circulating on social media are not widespread and do not accurately depict the vibrant school community."


Lucas Alves is the PDSB trustee for the ward of the school.

“I am deeply concerned with what I read in the anonymous letter and am eagerly awaiting the findings of the investigation,” Alves said in a statement to CTV News Toronto.

“While I cannot provide detailed specifics at this time, I assure you that we are actively reviewing the situation and exploring appropriate strategies to address any findings that come from the investigation.”

He said he has received numerous calls and emails in the last few days, and encourages all impacted to continue sharing feedback.

“It is imperative that we prioritize the dignity, safety, and well-being of everyone within our schools. Once the investigation has concluded, I along with my colleagues and staff, will work diligently with parents and all relevant stakeholders to implement measures that ensure a positive and secure learning environment,” Alves said. Top Stories

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