Teacher who wore blackface ‘no longer employed’ by Toronto District School Board

Click to play video: 'Calls for action, changes after TDSB teacher wears blackface in class'
Calls for action, changes after TDSB teacher wears blackface in class
WATCH ABOVE: (Nov. 1) Calls for action, changes after TDSB teacher wears blackface in class – Nov 1, 2021

A teacher who wore blackface at a Toronto school last month as part of a Halloween costume is “no longer employed” by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), according to a letter sent to parents and students.

In the letter sent Wednesday, Superintendent Debbie Donsky said the decision regarding the staff member at Parkdale Collegiate Institute, located near Jameson Avenue and Queen Street West, follows an investigation into the matter.

“As we said in our first letter informing you of this incident, caricatures of peoples’ race or culture are not appropriate and are offensive and hurtful,” Donsky said.

“Regardless of whether this was intended or not, it was racist and dehumanizing. Anti-Black racism, including Blackface, and all forms of discrimination, contravene the school Code of Conduct and multiple TDSB policies and procedures.

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“Staff or students who engage in racist and discriminatory behaviours can face serious consequences.”

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In a letter sent to parents earlier this month, Julie Ardell — the principal for Parkdale Collegiate Institute — said a student had alerted the vice principal that a white staff member was in blackface on Oct. 29, the last school day before Halloween, when staff and students typically dress up for Halloween.

Click to play video: 'Combatting anti-Asian racism through film and media'
Combatting anti-Asian racism through film and media

The principal said the teacher was asked to immediately wash their face.

A report was filed with the board for TDSB’s Reporting and Responding to Racism and Hate Incidents Involving or Impacting Students in Schools Procedure.

The teacher was then placed on home assignment pending the outcome of an investigation.

Donsky said staff will undergo learning aimed at combating racism and promoting the achievements and well-being of Black students.

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Donsky also said a second investigation is underway regarding another incident of anti-Black racism involving a staff member at the school.

— with files from Gabby Rodrigues

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