A teacher at an east Toronto high school has been under house arrest for allegedly using a racial slur during a classroom discussion about racism.
In a letter to parents and students on Thursday, the principal of Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute & Native Learning Center East said the school is taking the allegations very seriously as the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) investigates the incident.
“During a discussion, it was reported that an anti-black racist insult was used by a staff member,” Saby Chandi wrote.
“As soon as this incident was brought to our attention, we took immediate action to address it and are continuing to investigate.”
In an emailed statement to CBC Toronto, the TDSB said it learned of the incident on November 25, days after it allegedly happened at the school, located on Guildwood Parkway near Kingston Road and Markham Road in Scarborough.
Ryan Bird, the spokesperson for the TDSB, said the teacher was sent home on November 30 after students raised concerns. Bird said that, according to the council’s initial investigation, the conversation in which the teacher allegedly used the insult took place with a small group of students.
“We are committed to providing a safe and positive learning environment for all students and we regret the harm this incident has caused to members of our school community,” said Bird.
The school principal said support and advice was available for all students affected by the incident.
“We want to be clear that racism and all forms of discrimination are unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our school community,” reads Chandi’s letter.
The inquiry comes a month after dozens of parents and students rallied outside Parkdale Collegiate Institute, calling on the board to tackle and end anti-black racism in Toronto schools.
The rally came after a teacher – who is no longer employed by the council – wore a blackface to school for Halloween.
“As we move forward, we will also work closely with the TDSB Equity Advisors to continue to deepen our teaching and learning about equity and inclusion, and to establish new strategies and tools to fight. against anti-black racism, ”Chandi said.
“We will also focus our efforts on supporting students to make sure they feel comfortable and empowered to report all incidents of racism and discrimination.”