An occasional teacher in the Peel District School Board (PDSB) has been banned from speaking with students or teachers after allegedly posting what could be deemed a racist photo of a student on social media.
Carla Pereira, spokesperson for the PDSB, said the Instagram post was brought to their attention over the weekend and an investigation by the school’s Superintendent of Education was launched on Saturday.
The image beside the young student is of “Loc Dog” a character played by Marlon Wayans in the 1996 movie “Don’t be a menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood.”
The board tweeted that the post is “being investigated as anti-Black racism and being taken seriously.” They have also reached out to the students guardians.
Pereira said the behaviour by the teacher is “simply unacceptable.”
“You’d be hard pressed to look at that particular image and say that its not a post that would be considered racism,” said Pereira.
“You look at it, you look at the use of black stereotypes and you look at how the child is being compared to another individual in not a very nice way. I think you’d be very hard pressed to say that its not anti-black racism – even though that’s what we’re hearing from some members of the community who are saying its just a joke its really not racist.”
CityNews has learned that the educator under investigation would often teach kindergarten at a Brampton elementary school, which is where the photo was taken. The teacher has been assigned to home, which means she cannot take any shifts with the PDSB or communicate with students or staff.
“We don’t yet know how long the investigation will take or what the outcome will be, as we’re just getting started, but want to assure our community that this matter is being taken very seriously by senior leadership of the Peel board,” Pereira explained.
Social media training is offered for teachers in Peel region, but it is not mandatory.
The PDSB’S social media guides for staff says:
“The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that teachers’ off-duty conduct, even when not directly related to students, is relevant to their suitability to teach. As such, staff should use sound judgment and due care when using social media while on and off duty.”
According to the board, disciplinary action could range from a verbal reprimand to sensitivity training or even termination.
The name of the school and the teacher under investigation have not been released.
There has been no word on whether Peel police will also investigate the matter.
CORRECTION: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly stated the investigation began on Sunday