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PDSB integrity commissioner report sparks debate amid concerns of systemic racism

WATCH: Trustees were divided in a vote to receive a report from the integrity commissioner that clears a Peel District School Board trustee from any violation, for referring to McCrimmon middle school in Brampton as McCriminal. Erica Vella has details on the meeting a reactions from the trustees.

The chambers at Peel District School Board (PDSB) headquarters were filled on Tuesday with spectators wanting to watch discussions around a report from the integrity commissioner over a complaint filed against Trustee Will Davies.

The integrity commissioner’s office received a formal complaint in October about Davies after he referred to McCrimmon Middle School in Brampton as “McCriminal.”

Peel District School Board to discuss report from integrity commissioner
Peel District School Board to discuss report from integrity commissioner

In her report released last week, Sandhya Kohli found that Davies was not in violation of the board’s code of conduct. A few trustees said they were disappointed in the report.

READ MORE: Peel District School Board trustee alleges black students called ‘savages’, ahead of racism review

“I think it’s a slap in the face to black staff and black students,” said Trustee Kathy McDonald.

“I think it’s making it OK for people — nice jovial people — to make fun of people and name call.”

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The report was heard at a PDSB supplementary meeting Tuesday evening. Six out of the 10 trustees who were able to vote on the matter voted to receive the report.

Nokha Dakroub was one of four trustees who chose to not receive the report.

“I wasn’t satisfied,” she said.

“What I was hoping to see come out of this was a recognition that a comment can cause harm as we have seen and that there is community that is quite offended by it.”

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In a statement, PDSB Chair Stan Cameron said the board of trustees “must not interfere with the integrity commissioner’s independent process.”

“Although a code of conduct contravention was not found, as a board of trustees we will continue to uphold the Peel District School Board’s values of respect and inclusion,” the statement continued to say.

READ MORE: Ontario government to review Peel District School Board amid allegations of racism

Ontario’s Ministry of Education has launched a review of the PDSB, investigating concerns around systemic racism.

Sources told Global News that the ministry is monitoring the board meeting and third-party reviewers will be announced in the coming days.