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Peel school board ending litigation against Black advocacy Twitter accounts amid criticism

Click to play video 'PDSB takes legal action targeting Twitter users' PDSB takes legal action targeting Twitter users
WATCH ABOVE: (June 21) Peel District School Board’s director and vice-chair took legal action to try and uncover the people behind Twitter accounts that have been highlighting rumoured instances of racism at the schools. Kamil Karamali reports.

The Peel District School Board says it is ending legal action against Black advocacy Twitter accounts.

The move came hours after the Ontario government appointed a new supervisor to confront racism at the board.

The PDSB’s director, vice-chair, and two other staff members had launched legal action alleging the accounts were engaged in “a campaign of defamation, posting false and misleading statements” and shared confidential information.

The accounts posted rumoured instances of bigotry at PDSB schools and alleged that board members weren’t doing enough to combat anti-Black racism.

READ MORE: Peel school board takes legal action to uncover people behind Black advocacy Twitter accounts

Earlier this year, two provincial reviews reported systemic racism within the school board, resulting in numerous directives to combat anti-Black racism.

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On Monday, Education Minister Stephen Lecce posted a tweet calling for an end to the legal action.

“I have asked the new supervisor to have PDSB immediately withdraw from litigation against community members to begin the process of driving change and meaningful engagement with those affected,” Lecce said.

“We cannot silence community. In fact, we need more community in these moments.”

Shortly after, the PDSB confirmed to Global News that the board is proceeding with that direction.

READ MORE: Peel District School Board trustees call for province to appoint supervisor amid racism allegations

“We are awaiting a formal order concluding the proceeding, but terms to end the litigation were agreed upon over the weekend,” a PDSB spokesperson said in an email.

Lecce announced Monday morning that Bruce Rodrigues would be appointed as PDSB supervisor in a bid to confront racism at the school board.

“We expect all schools and classrooms in the province to be safe and inclusive. For far too long, this has not been the case at the Peel District School Board,” Lecce said in a statement.

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

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“From day one, I said that if the PDSB does not act swiftly and completely to counter racism and positively change the culture within our schools, then the government will act. For a generation, students have felt ignored, powerless, and disrespected. This ends starting today.”

Lecce said Rodrigues has an “outstanding track record” in Ontario’s school system and has a commitment to drive change. Rodrigues previously worked as the director of education at the Toronto Catholic District School Board and as chief executive officer of EQAO.

“With the assistance of Mr. Rodrigues’ supervision, I know that the Peel District School Board will have the leadership and necessary management structure in place to ensure the learning and working environments are welcoming, inclusive, and respectful for students and staff,” Lecce said.

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