Canada: Mother sues TDSB alleging daughter subjected to racist bullying - - PressFrom - Canada
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CanadaMother sues TDSB alleging daughter subjected to racist bullying

04:05  16 may  2019
04:05  16 may  2019 Source:   thestar.com

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The mother of a Black girl, who was allegedly punched in the face by a white boy after months of “ racist , sexist bullying ” and “threats of physical In a statement of claim filed this week in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Tara Quansah alleges Glenview Senior Public School — a middle school

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The mother of a Black girl, who was allegedly punched in the face by a white boy after months of “racist, sexist bullying” and “threats of physical violence,” is suing the Toronto District School Board, saying it failed to protect her daughter.

In a statement of claim filed this week in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Tara Quansah alleges Glenview Senior Public School — a middle school near Yonge St. and Lawrence Ave. W. — was first made aware in November that her daughter was being bullied by a classmate.

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Mother says daughter , 12, was subjected to racial slurs and punched by fellow student. Top administrators at a Toronto middle school are on leave, and an investigation is underway into how staff handled accusations of prolonged racist bullying that culminated with a white boy allegedly punching

Mother sues TDSB alleging daughter subjected to racist bullying . Board failed to keep 12-year-old girl safe, mother says in statement of claim. School administrators on leave as TDSB investigates allegations of racist bullying . Mother says daughter , 12, was subjected to racial slurs and

“The (boy) threatened (the girl) while at school, stating that he was ‘going to get her,’ and made racial slurs and crude anti-Black and sexually subjugating comments,” according to the statement of claim. It says the girl reported the “verbal assaults and threats” to a guidance counsellor and that the school took no action.

None of the allegations have been tested in court and the board has not yet filed a statement of defence.

“As the incidents are still being investigated, we’re not in a position to comment on the specific allegations,” said board spokesperson Ryan Bird.

In an interview with the Star on Tuesday, director of education John Malloy said there were gaps in how procedures were followed in this case. The school’s principal and vice-principal are currently on leave as the board investigates how the matter was handled. Malloy said racism is not tolerated, noting staff are supposed to report it immediately.

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“Whether we’re talking about homophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Black racism …We need our staff to understand that when they see it and hear it, (they) report it immediately,” Malloy said. “That’s our commitment going forward.”

Lawyer Darryl Singer, who is representing Quansah and her daughter, told the Star the school has a legal obligation to protect students once it becomes aware of safety or racism issues. Even though there is a safe schools policy, a zero-tolerance policy on bullying and physical aggression, and an anti-racism policy, no one at the school took action to protect the girl, according to the lawsuit, which is seeking $1 million in damages.

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In the statement of claim, Quansah alleges the harassment continued throughout the winter and that she and her 12-year-old daughter — who is identified in the lawsuit by her initials — advised the school on “multiple occasions” about what was going on and that “the bullying was in the form of anti-Black comments.” She claims the school’s attempt at resolving the issue was to have the girl take responsibility for what they termed “her role in the back and forth.”

In late March, according to the lawsuit, the boy allegedly hit the girl in the face with a binder, resulting in a nosebleed. She started to defend herself” — but before she could do so, the boy allegedly “punched her in the face.”

The statement of claim says the school took no action against the boy until the mother called police. It also says the school wanted to suspend the girl for what they termed “her part in the altercation.” Sources have told the Star the boy was suspended, though the board would not confirm this.

The mother alleges in the lawsuit that the continued bullying resulted in her daughter’s grades dropping because the “pain, anxiety, stress, feelings of insecurity, and lack of safety at school” made it difficult for her to focus. And, the girl’s injuries — she missed two weeks of classes after the alleged assault — include possible concussion, lacerations and contusions, blurry vision in one eye, a loss of concentration and memory, scarring, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the statement of claim.

“The (girl) has suffered humiliation, loss of dignity, and serious damage to her self-confidence and self-worth,” according to the statement of claim.

School administrators on leave as TDSB investigates allegations of racist bullying

School administrators on leave as TDSB investigates allegations of racist bullying Top administrators at a Toronto middle school are on leave, and an investigation is underway into how staff handled accusations of prolonged racist bullying that culminated with a white boy allegedly punching a black girl in the face. The Toronto District School Board placed the principal and vice-principal of Glenview Senior Public School on home assignment, beginning Monday. They will remain so throughout a board investigation looking into “gaps” in how procedures were followed. “We do not tolerate racism,” the board’s director of education John Malloy told the Star on Tuesday.

Mother sues TDSB alleging daughter subjected to racist bullying . Board failed to keep 12-year-old girl safe, mother says in statement of claim. School administrators on leave as TDSB investigates allegations of racist bullying . Mother says daughter , 12, was subjected to racial slurs and

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Earlier this month, the mother posted about the incident on social media, which was widely circulated. Afterwards, principal Mario Sirois sent a letter home to parents of students in the school explaining “the violent incident” was dealt with after it occurred in March and “resulted in serious consequences” and that “at that time staff also became aware of an allegation of a past racist remark.” Sirois also apologized for gaps in how procedures were followed.

Isabel Teotonio is a Toronto-based reporter covering education. Follow her on Twitter: @Izzy74

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