TDSB places three employees on home assignment pending investigation of anti-Black racism

Charline Grant and Faridah N

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has placed three employees of John Fisher Public School – the principal, vice-principal and a teacher – on home assignment pending an investigation of anti-Black racism.

A six-year old boy was reported to have been subjected to dozens of instances of anti-Black racism at the school.

And his mother alleged that on January 31 last he was locked alone in a small room in the school by the principal.

The boy who is the only Black student in his Grade 1 class, was reported to have been sent to the room to prevent him from talking to another student.

His mother noted that information about this incident is documented on a hidden recording device which she put on her son.

She said he was sent to school with the device to document what was happening to him after what she felt was a lack of progress in addressing her concerns about anti-Black racism.

Parents of Black Children’s chief advocacy officer, Charline Grant, said that more than 40 “instances of racial harm towards the boy” have been documented in “30 days of recorded tapes.”

The alleged examples include being seated away from his classmates, being told he didn’t have the intelligence to learn and speak French, being sent outside of class to write apology letters for allegedly disrupting class and being accused of not displaying John Fisher school “values.”

Grant told The Caribbean Camera that since September 2021, 395 families have reported “incidents of racism within the Ontario school system. Many families reported “multiple incidents.”

The TDSB said it first learned about “reports of serious acts of anti-Black racism at John Fisher” last Thursday.

“No child should experience what has been reported and we apologize for the impact it has had on the student and their family,” Ryan Bird, the TDSB’s executive director of communications, said in a statement.

“We are working to complete this investigation as soon as possible and will support the student and their family in any way we can.”