The York Region District School Board is facing yet another case of racism among its ranks after a trustee allegedly directed a slur at a black parent during a public meeting last month.
The board’s director of education issued a statement on Wednesday confirming an investigation has been launched.
“Recently, an allegation of racism has been made against one of our Trustees,” J. Philip Parappally said in a statement posted on the board’s website.
“We are taking this extremely seriously and immediately following the report took action. At a staff level we have brought in external legal counsel as a third party to conduct an independent investigation.”
The director, who did not name the trustee, said the board would not be commenting further on the matter until the investigation is complete.
A report published in the Toronto Star said the person identified in the probe is 82-year-old Nancy Elgie who represents the region of Georgina. It is alleged she called a black parent “n- – – – -” during a public meeting on Nov. 22.
The York Region public school board, which recently elected a new chair this week, has been under fire of late following alleged incidents of racism.
A Markham elementary school principal is currently under investigation by board officials after she was caught posting anti-Muslim content on her Facebook page.
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Meanwhile, the head of equity at the board recently released a scathing letter to senior staff questioning how the investigation is being handled and the culture of fear that exists within the board’s ranks.
Last week, a community group representing seven Ontario families filed a human rights complaint against the board over its inability to properly address incidents of Islamophobia and systemic racism within the institution’s ranks.
Ontario Minister of Education Mitzie Hunter, who addressed the latest incident during a funding announcement in Toronto on Thursday, had requested the board last month to present an anti-racism action plan by January.
“I’ve expressed that concern very clearly to the leadership of the YRDSB, to the trustees, and my expectation is that a response will be forthcoming very early in January in terms of what are the processes that are in place to ensure that the climate in the schools within York Region is one that reflects our focus on student well-being, on equity, on inclusion,” she said.
“Issues of racism, Islamophobia, those are not tolerated and it’s very important that we’re very clear on that.”
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