Peel school board investigating racism during virtual Sikh Heritage Month event

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The Peel District School Board (PDSB) is investigating an act of racism that took place during a recent online event for Sikh Heritage Month.

On Thursday, April 1, PDSB held an online meeting in which NDP leader Jagmeet Singh came on as a guest speaker.

The board alleges that during this time, unknown individuals attempted to enter the online event with racist and discriminatory slurs in their usernames, targeting Sikh, South-Asian, Black, and 2SLGBTQ+ communities.

“When this incident was brought to our attention, we took immediate steps to block access for these accounts and continue the presentation,” said PDSB Director of Education Colleen Russell-Rawlins and Supervisor Bruce Rodrigues in a recent statement.

“We are taking this very seriously and have begun an investigation with the Peel District School Board’s Learning Technology Support Services. Behaviour like this is a violation of the PDSB Code of Conduct and highlights the importance of our mandate toward equity, anti-racism, and anti-oppression transformation in the PDSB included within and beyond the Ministry Directives.”

The board issued an apology to Singh, the event attendees, and especially to Sikh community members, and says anyone who engages in racist or discriminatory acts within PDSB communities will face consequences.

“Some students may be understandably upset by this incident. If your child requires support or counselling, please contact your principal,” the board said to parents.

The investigation is ongoing into the identities of those who used racist and discriminatory slurs during the event.

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