This week’s question:

York Region District School Board trustee Nancy Elgie who sparked an  uproar in the Black community after she called a Black parent a nigger, wants to decide what her punishment should be for using the racial slur.Enraged citizens called for her resignation from the Board.But instead, Elgie is now proposing that she be prohibited from participating in all  Board meetings for a period of three to six months.

Do you believe that Nancy Elgie should be allowed to decide what her punishment should be?

Shernett Martin, Nigel Barriffe, Lotoya Davids, Tavianne Jackson, Jacqui Testoni and Charmaine Bryan

Charmaine Bryan

Image Consultant Charmaine Bryan Image Consulting

No I don’t think it’s fair because she feels she can reappear after six months and come back to her role as if nothing happened. She’s in a position of trust and the role is meant to represent all students. Why should black parents trust that she will be unbiased around their children?

Nigel Barriffe

President Urban Alliance on Race Relations

I think it demonstrates a very large gap between the experience of white supremacy and white privilege that continues to be afforded by people in positions of power. Look at people of higher power like Dr. Chris Spence (former education director of TDSB) who admitted to plagiarizing.  For that, he resigned. The Ontario College of Teachers stripped him of his license. Compare that to a trustee uttering  a racial slur to a parent. A trustee in a role of trust as a caregiver, providing a safe place for parents, students, and staff.

Jacqui Testoni  Hairstylist and concerned parent

I don’t think it’s fair. At the end of the day, she’s somebody to be respected and looked up to and she has to make decisions on behalf of the school board. And children are watching, looking up to her. I don’t think she should make her own punishment. You have to lead by example, and clearly she is not a leader.

Lotoya Davids

Journalism Student Humber College

Yeah! I heard about that. I think she should resign. As a School Board Trustee, she’s setting a horrible example. And anyone using the excuse that she is old, needs to use that same excuse to say she is too old to be in the position. Three to six months is a slap on the wrist; there is no way she should think that is excusable. I mean how are Black students to feel safe in their academic environments if she can get a slap on the wrist and go back to her life? People need to understand that free speech means you can say what you want but that does not make the person immune from consequences, especially for hate speech and referring to someone with a label that is attached historically to such great injustice and oppression .

Shernett Martin

Executive Director Vaughn African Canadian Association

Schools have consequences for student behaviour and have panels set up that suspend and expel students.  Yet, for a Trustee who called a black parent migger, she gets to dictate to taxpayers what her punishment and consequence should be.  This is a moment in time that communities must band together and demand that she resigns.  If calling a parent nigger goes unpunished, then what else is going on in schools and at the Board that we don’t know about, that is being excused?  If they can treat a parent that way, how are they treating our black children at school?

Tavianne Jackson

Community Worker/ Student George Brown College

Her creating her own punishment? That’s a slap in the face. She shouldn’t be in charge of her punishment .No way ! Best thing  for her to do is to resign because at the end of the day, people are always going to think about what she did. Sometimes people take things too far and something like the n-word, that’s just taking things too far. First of all, I don’t think she should even be saying ‘okay I want to be punished for six months, three months, a year’- none of that. She should just resign gracefully, step down and, bring somebody in new -somebody who would hopefully know the rules, and hopefully will treat everyone equality.