Angry York citizens demand the resignation of school board trustee

(L/R) Trustee Nancy Elgie and Charline Grant

More than  1,600 concerned citizens in York  Region have signed a petition demanding public school board trustee Nancy Elgie resign for calling a black parent  ” a nigger.”


The parent, Jamaica-born Christine Grant  said that during a public meeting last November, Elgie  used the racial slur which was reported to be heard by several persons.

A subsequent investigation into the incident was conducted by the York Region District School Board and  Elgie has since issued an apology.

In a letter of apology  Elgie said ““It is plainly unacceptable that anyone in public office would use such a word to describe another person.”

But her apology has not satisfied the offended  parent and many angry members of the black community who are now calling for her resignation.

In an interview with the Caribbean Camera, Grant noted that Elgie said “she (Elgie) used that term because she was recovering from having bumped her head and didn’t know my name. You don’t know my name and you call me a nigger? We are talking about systemic discrimination and she proved it by using that word.”

“I’m just hoping that her fellow trustees tell her to do the right thing, and that justice can be served. We’re not stopping, We’ve already got over 1600 signatures and its growing; People want to see justice and this cannot go unpunished.”

Shernett Martin, executive director of Vaughn African Canadian Association (VACA) believes the apology Elgie issued was insufficient. She said “this elected official who tossed the word “nigger” around in the presence of her colleagues as if it was deep within her personal vernacular, is a disgrace to education and elected office.”

Commenting on the issue, Toronto lawyer and human rights activist  Selwyn Pieters,  said that ” in Trustee Nancy Elgie’s case, the system does virtually nothing to hold her accountable for the racist slur uttered in a public place in the presence of others, including Black administrators.”

“The apology is meaningless. Trustee Nancy Elgie has breached the public trust and should be removed from her position. The Director of Education is also part of the problem and should be removed from his position with York Region District School Board, ” he added.

The  Caribbean Camera made several telephone calls to  Elgie’s residence  but there was no response. There was also no response to an e-mail message sent to her.

Local community organizations, including the VACA, have been collecting signatures for the petition calling for Elgie’s resignation.

And dozens of  parents are reported to be planning to show up at the next meeting of the York Regional District School Board to demand Elgie’s resignation.