Insensitive remark about Peel school leads to vote for name change

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Back in October, community members came together at the Regular Meeting of the Board, to voice concerns about Trustee Will Davies’ comment referring to McCrimmon Middle School in Brampton as “McCriminal.”

This matter was before the independent office of the Integrity Commissioner for the Peel District School Board, the office responsible for addressing any and all matters related to the Code of Conduct and Complaint Protocol issues.

A formal complaint was then received by the Office of the Integrity Commissioner on October 16, 2019, regarding Trustee Davies’ actions.

“We acknowledge the truly negative impact that this situation has caused to members of the McCrimmon community, including students, families and staff, and to the broader Black community. I cannot, and do not, speak for the Board of Trustees, but I know they will agree that there is no place in our schools and worksites for anti-Black racism,” said Peter Joshua, director of education.

“Although it remains deeply entrenched in institutions, this doesn’t mean that we ignore it and walk away. We mustn’t treat it as invisible. Through our policies, beliefs and values, the Peel District School Board condemns anti-Black racism.”

The Ministry of Education then announced that it would appoint reviewers to conduct an immediate review of the Peel District School Board (PDSB)—the school board that oversees schools in Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon—in the wake of concerning allegations of anti-Black racism and improper human resources practices.

“Schools must be safe, inclusive, and welcoming places for students, staff, and the entire community. Allegations related to equity in the Peel District School Board have raised concerns, specifically related to anti-Black racism and lack of adherence to governance, leadership, and human resources practices,” Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, said in a statement.

The review followed a request for intervention from the PDSB.

In November, The Toronto Star revealed that Poleen Grewal, the associate director of instruction and equity with the PDSB, filed a complaint against the board and its director of education with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. She is accusing them of racism, harassment and diminishing her work while failing to deal with anti-Black racism in schools. also said that concerns about equity have been raised by families, students, the PDSB Director of Education, the board of trustees, and members of the broader community.

In a statement, Lecce also said that concerns about equity have been raised by families, students, the PDSB Director of Education, the board of trustees, and members of the broader community.

On November 19, 2019, the Board of Trustees was presented with the Integrity Commissioner’s Report at a Supplementary Meeting of the Board which included a finding that Davies did not, in fact, violate section 6.5 or 6.65 of the Trustee Code of Conduct.

At the Supplementary Meeting on November 19, the Board approved receipt of the Integrity Commissioner’s report.
A number of community members then came forward to express their thoughts on the Integrity Commissioner’s Report submitted last month. On November 19, the board received the IC Report investigating the situation.

“As a Board of Trustees, we 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,” said Chair Stan Cameron in a statement.

“I can understand how hurt and harm was felt, and how this term could have been perceived as racist. My opinion isn’t the relevant part here. How the community feels and interprets this word is what is most relevant,” he added.

This week, Peel District School Board (PDSB) voted unanimously to change the name of McCrimmon Middle School and although there have been mixed reviews, the process is said to begin in the new year.

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