Peel public school board apologizes for “hurtful and damaging” message sent to Black staff members

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Published February 25, 2021 at 4:18 pm

The Peel District School Board (PDSB) has apologized for a message that went out on an internal webpage and offended Black staff members.

The PDSB says the message was “hurtful and damaging” and was put on the site inadvertently.

The offending message was part of an invitation to a video poetry event called “Black Girl, You Are Loved” and was meant for those who self-identify as Black, African or Caribbean to join.

However, on the sign-up portion of the page the message read, “this labour of love will bring them joy and hopefully inspire them to be able to be their true selves. blah blah blah.”

Staff members who received the invitation saw the “blah, blah, blah” part and complained.

The offending message that was originally sent out to staff members

The PDSB has subsequently released a statement apologizing, saying the content did not meet the equity, inclusion, anti-oppression and anti-racism standards of the board.

The PDSB said it recognizes that the sharing of the content in draft form was painful to members of the Peel community, in particular Black staff members in schools.

“For this, we apologize, and especially to Black, African and Caribbean staff and community members,” said Tiffany Gooch, a spokesperson for the school board.

“Although the Peel board is taking many steps in its efforts to dismantle anti-Black racism and achieve racial equality, we have much more work to do.”

The PDSB has removed the post and it will be re-shared once all of the information is accurate.

“An incident like this should never happen under any circumstances,” Gooch said. “The event which was being communicated in the post is an important gathering of the sisterhood in celebration of Black girls, and one which should not have been negatively impacted in this way”

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