The Peel District School Board (PDSB) is investigating an anonymous letter that alleges out-of-control violence and “disorderly conduct” at a Mississauga middle school.
The letter, making the rounds on social media, appears to be written by a Tomken Road Middle School staff member. It claims that students, teachers, and staff have faced countless unsafe interactions and that the school climate is one of “violence” and “fear.”
“It has become impossible to maintain any sense of dignity at our school,” reads the letter. “Students will ignore any boundaries or structure remaining at our school.”
“We write this letter as a desperate call for help to make changes to our learning environment to make it the safe place it once was.”
This morning I received this letter from a teacher at a Mississauga school. I have verified the existence and identity of its author and its authenticity. @trusteemcdonald @peelschools @pdsbdirector – Thoughts? Policy changes? @sflecce @fordnation pic.twitter.com/KrzyQq1tvU
— R. Michael Teper (@MichaelTeper1) May 20, 2023
The note details disturbing incidents that allegedly occurred at the school, located in the area of Tomken Road and Dundas Street. The incidents include several examples of vandalization, violence, and verbal abuse by students toward other students, staff and teachers.
The letter also alleged that students have defecated on the bathroom floors in the building and “rubbed their feces on the wall.”
“Students have no sense of physical boundaries with teachers. They will come up behind you and yell in your ear or blow in your face,” it reads.
The anonymous note says staff at the school have made several attempts to receive help or some direction from the PDSB.
“We finally arranged a meeting with our superintendent, and on the day of the meeting, they said they forgot,” reads the letter. “No one wants to intervene, and we can’t understand why.”
Peel District School Board confirms investigation of anonymous letter
The school board confirms they are aware of the letter and are investigating the matter. Officials say the superintendent will be at the school on Thursday to participate in a series of meetings with staff members.
The board also confirmed they have some open investigations related to some of the specific incidents alleged in the letter. PDSB says some students have already been suspended for “specific items alleged in the letter,” despite the letter saying no expulsions or suspensions have occurred.
“We are committed to ensuring that our students and school staff learn and work in safe school environments where students thrive and flourish and staff encourage student success,” says a PDSB spokesperson. “The safety and well-being of our students and staff is our top priority.”
Last week, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) said it had outlined a plan to address violence on school property after sharing a report that suggested more than 300 students had been involved in violent incidents this academic year. The board said that number is the highest since at least 2018-19.
Also last week, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) said three-quarters of its members reported experiencing or witnessing violence against staff members.
The union commissioned a survey of its members earlier this year and found that 42 per cent of its members have had a physical injury, illness or psychological injury or illness due to workplace violence against them this school year.