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Peel School Board apologizes for 'acts of discrimination and anti-Black racism'

Last Updated Sep 23, 2020 at 11:52 am EDT

The Peel District School Board is apologizing to a community leader for “acts of discrimination and anti-Black racism.”

Idris Orughu, a community leader and advocate, received a trespassing notice from the school board in March, banning him from its properties. Orughu, who is also a parent, adds that police were called on him when a trustee falsely accused him of making a threat during a community board meeting back in February.

Bruce Rodrigues, the board’s newly appointed supervisor, said it was wrong for the board to do that.

“The Peel District School Board extends an apology to Mr. Orughu,” Rodrigues said in a release issued Tuesday.

“The issuing of the notice of trespass and contacting the Peel Regional Police were acts of discrimination and anti-Black racism. The Peel District School Board recognizes and apologizes on behalf of senior leadership for the impact of that trespass letter on Mr. Orughu’s advocacy efforts to change education policies that perpetuate anti-Black racism and oppressive practices.”

The province appointed Rodrigues back in June, to tackle issues of systemic racism and inequalities at the board, after Education Minister Steven Lecce intervened and later assigned an investigator to conduct a review of the PDSB.

The scathing report, released in June, revealed that the PDSB is too ‘dysfunctional’ and unwilling to tackle systemic racism. Prior to this, Lecce issued several warnings to the board to tackle issues relating to anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, Islamaphobia, homophobia and anti-Semitism at the Board.

Following the release of the report, the Director of Education for the Peel District School Board was removed from his position. Minister Lecce said it was “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.”

Read the complete apology below: