Principal to face disciplinary hearing over alleged racist remarks in Oakville

Published February 24, 2023 at 3:02 pm

A disciplinary hearing has been scheduled for an Oakville high school principal over alleged racist incidents.

According to a notice of hearing by the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT), allegations of professional misconduct will be heard against Julie Ann Riesberry, currently the principal at St. Michael Elementary School.

The hearing will consider reports that the principal is guilty of professional misconduct. None of the allegations have been proven to be true.

It is alleged that between 2016 and 2020, while working at St. Bernadette Catholic Elementary School, also in Oakville, she used racially derogatory terms when talking to colleagues about Black students and their parents. She is also accused of altering the attendance record of a student.

In the hearing document released by the OCT, several allegations were listed. On one occasion in December of 2018, she is accused of saying during a school luncheon, “What Black kid doesn’t like fried chicken?” As well, in February of 2020, she allegedly said, “I know what I am giving up for lent, Black Lives Matter.” Other examples are also listed.

At one point, according to the OCT, Riesberry was suspended without pay by the Halton Catholic District School Board (HCDSB) for 10 days.

Attempts to reach Riesberry were unsuccessful. The HCDSB does not comment on personnel matters.

The Catholic Principals Council will represent Riesberry at the hearing, although a date has not yet been set.

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