Education minister demands ‘detailed’ response from York board to racism, Islamophobia allegations

By Andrea Janus
CBC News | November 23, 2016

Ontario’s education minister is demanding an action plan from the York Region District School Board on how it plans to address allegations of Islamophobia and systemic racism — and she wants that plan within two months.

In her letter, addressed to all YRDSB trustees and dated Tuesday, Education Minister Mitzie Hunter said she continues to « have concerns » about how the board is addressing the problems « and, therefore, am making a specific request for information about the current issues and plans for how the board will move forward to address and resolve them. »

At the end of the letter, she asked for « a thorough and detailed » response to her request with an action plan « no later » than Jan. 13.

« I am committed to supporting the YRDSB as you work to resolve the issues and reclaim the board’s standing as a model school board in Ontario, » Hunter wrote. « I look forward to receiving the board’s response and plan for addressing these serious concerns. »

. . .

On Wednesday, the National Council of Canadian Muslims said it is « heartening » that Hunter appears to have listened to concerns from the community.

« The Minister is now requiring clear answers from this board about the handling of the specific case of the principal’s anti-Muslim postings, as well as questions at the broader level relating to equity, transparency and accountability, » Amira Elghawaby, communications director for the council, said in a statement to CBC Toronto.

« There has been a clear loss of faith in the current board chair and director of education. We hope that the Minister’s intervention will lead to an outcome that assures families of the safety, well-being, and inclusion of all students in the York board. »

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