Jamaica-born parent ready to run in by-election for school trustee

Charline Grant meet supporters

Just  last fall, Charline Grant, a Jamaica-born mother of three young children,  ran as a candidate for trustee for the York  Regional District School  Board (YRDSB).

Now she is getting ready to run again –  this time for the same position.

Last week, at a special meeting, the YRDSB  decided to hold a by-election to fill the vacancy created by the sudden resignation of  Anna  DeBartolo  against whom Grant ran in the October 22 last municipal elections.

DeBartolo  who served the Board for 15 years, was re-elected trustee  for Vaughan wards 1 and 2, winning  4.437 votes.

Grant , the first runner-up, earned 2,161 votes.

DeBartolo said she was resigning for personal reasons.

Many parents in the area say that  Grant  should have been called upon to fill DeBartolo’s position.

Before running for trustee,  Grant has had battles with the Board over allegations of racism.

In an incident in 2016   she was called a nigger by trustee  Nancy Elgie who resigned  after  she launched a  complaint about the racial slur.

The Board apologize to Grant and the Black community for the offensive word.

She  had also complained that her son was called “intimidating” and “angry” by his teachers because of his race,

In April 2017, a three-month investigation of the Board  by the provincial government found that students, parents and staff had had feelings of “alienation, marginalization and discrimination” and that a culture of fear was rampant within the board.

Mitzie Hunter, then Ontario minister of education, who had  appointed two provincial reviewers to investigate the Board, ordered it to implement 22 directives. These  included establishing a human rights office, reinstating the Every Student Counts survey that will capture “statistics relating to incidents of racism” and ongoing training for all staff on equity and human rights.

Grant said that she  had decided to run for the position of  trustee last year  after she was turned down when she tried to get on the Board’s parent advisory committee.

She told the Caribbean Camera in an interview earlier this week that she is determined to run again in a by-election.

She  said it cost her  thousands of dollars to run in the elections last October and it will cost her thousands more to run again.

“But I am ready to run.”

According to a report presented to trustees at the  special  meeting of  the YRDSB last week,  the Board is required to reimburse the municipality for the cost of holding  the by-election.

The clerk for the City of Vaughan  has provided  a cost  estimate of $177,000.