School board won’t reveal outcome of investigation into Markham principal

Toronto Star | October 21, 2016

More than a month after the York school board launched an investigation into allegations that a Markham elementary school principal put anti-Muslim posts on her Facebook page, board officials won’t tell concerned parents about the status of the investigation, calling it a “personnel matter.”

Last month, the York Region District School Board said it was investigating after becoming aware of postings on the Facebook page of Ghada Sadaka, a principal at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Public School.

Parents say they are frustrated by the lack of information they have received from the board about the process and outcome of the investigation.

“We were expecting the (school board) to take some concrete action given the nature of the material that the principal shared,” said Markham parent Naeem Siddiqi, whose children don’t attend Sadaka’s school but a different school in the board. “But we feel that we have had a complete blackout of information.

“There are many of us concerned that the board has a systemic problem, that if something like this was to happening at others schools, it would be covered up in a similar manner.”

. . .

In a letter addressed to York school board chair Anna DeBartolo, the civil liberties advocacy group National Council of Canadian Muslims wrote that it was informed by Leslie Johnstone, associate director of education, in a phone call that “the Board has in fact completed its investigation, feels that it’s process was sufficient, and will not disclose or share the results of the investigation.”

In the letter sent to all the trustees, and some senior staff, and obtained by the Star, the council’s executive director Ihsaan Gardee asks for a meeting with DeBartolo, and concerned parents. It also asks for the dismissal of Sadaka “in order to ensure the safety and well-being of students, as well as to restore the faith of parents and community members in the Board.”

The letter also says that the investigation process does not follow one set out in the board’s own policies, which suggests there should be meetings conducted with concerned students and parents and written decisions provided to families.

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