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Ontario government issues directives to Peel school board after review on racism

A empty classroom is pictured at McGee Secondary school in Vancouver on September 5, 2014.
A empty classroom is pictured at McGee Secondary school in Vancouver on September 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

TORONTO – Ontario’s education minister has issued more than two dozen directives to the Peel District School Board following a review of the board looking at anti-black racism.

Stephen Lecce has asked the board to regularly report on equity, conduct a diversity audit, develop a learning plan for senior staff on equity and anti-black racism, track race-based data on suspensions and consider apologizing to the black community.

READ MORE: Ontario government appoints leaders of review into Peel District School Board

The third-party review found that black students are only 10.2 per cent of the secondary school population, but about 22.5 per cent of the students receiving suspensions.

The reviewers heard anecdotally that some principals “use any excuse” to suspend black students, including wearing hoodies or hoop earrings.

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READ MORE: Ontario government names 3rd expert to review racism in Peel school board

Recent school board data shows that about 83 per cent of secondary school students in the board are racialized, and the reviewers say about two-thirds of teachers in the board are white.

Lecce says accounts of systemic racism and discrimination in the report are “deeply troubling and will not be tolerated.”