Toronto teacher who wore blackface to school ‘no longer employed,’ board confirms

TORONTO — A teacher who appeared at school in blackface last month as part of a Halloween costume is “no longer employed,” a Toronto school board has confirmed.

In a letter to parents, guardians, and students of Parkdale Collegiate Institute obtained by CTV News Toronto, Superintendent Debbie Donsky wrote that the investigation into the Oct. 29 incident is now complete and that “appropriate consequences have been applied.”

“I can confirm that the staff member is no longer employed by the Toronto District School Board,” the letter signed by Donsky read.

The incident made headlines after a letter addressed to those affiliated with the school, which is located just south of Queen Street and east of Roncesvalles Avenue, said that a “number of students” alerted the vice principal that a white staff member was in blackface.

At that time, the principal, Julie Ardell, said immediate steps were taken to address the incident, including having the staff member wash their face as to “not cause further harm.”

“Caricatures of peoples’ race or culture are not appropriate and are offensive and hurtful. Regardless of whether this was intended or not, it was racist and dehumanizing,” Ardell wrote at the time.

The teacher was placed on home assignment pending the outcome of the investigation, as per the board’s Reporting and Responding to Racism and Hate Incidents Involving or Impacting Students in Schools Procedure.

The teacher is not named in the letter.

Donsky went on to say that there is one “other incident of anti-Black racism involving a staff member at the school,” though details of that incident have not been made public. An update on that investigation is expected next week.

Last weekend, parents and students held a rally in the wake of the incidents, calling for changes and actions to end anti-Black racism in schools. 

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