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Peel Director of Education fired after report showed board lacked 'will' to tackle racism

Last Updated Jun 23, 2020 at 6:46 pm EST

The Director of Education for the Peel District School Board (PDSB) has been removed from his position after a damning report released earlier this month showed the board was too dysfunctional and lacked the “will” to tackle anti-Black and systemic racism.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce confirmed Tuesday the PDSB Superintendent had removed Peter Joshua as Director of Education “to find new leadership for the board … to do better for racialized children, for all children in that community who for too long felt isolated and discriminated against.”

An interim Director of Education will be named in the coming days by the Ministry of Education supervisor Bruce Rodrigues.

“It was clear in successive reports that not enough was being done, that these children continued to feel victimized within their schools,” Lecce said.

“In this province … we have to do better and no child should feel isolated as a consequence of the colour of their skin, or their orientation or their faith.”

In November 2019, Lecce directed a review of the PDSB after allegations of anti-Black racism and rampant dysfunction within the board. On March 13, 2020, after extensive consultations, Lecce’s office issued numerous directions to the board to tackle the glaring problems.

A report issued earlier this month by lawyer Arleen Huggins, who was hired to investigate the board’s capacity to comply with the directions, concluded that the board has “failed to comply” with Lecce’s directions.

“Strong leadership in the face of the damning findings of systemic racism, specifically anti-Black racism, organizational dysfunction, and community distrust and disenfranchisement calls for an understanding of the urgency to respond,” Huggins wrote.