John fisher

Principals’ association confident evidence will show student in question was never placed in tiny room

The Ontario Principals’ Council (OPC) has released a statement in response to allegations of racism at John Fisher JPS, following the Toronto District School Board decision to remove three staff members from the midtown Toronto school and issue an apology.

“We represent the administrators at John Fisher Public School in Toronto, who are facing unwarranted public scrutiny after the media reported that a Black student, age 6, was “allegedly locked in a small room.” We are confident that once this incident is thoroughly investigated, the evidence will show that the student in question was never placed in the room depicted in the media reports, let alone with a closed or locked door,” the statement read, in part.

“We are also troubled by the choice of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) to comment and issue an apology on the allegations in this case at this time, given that the investigation is incomplete. We encourage the board and all parties to do everything in their power to ensure a fair, transparent and swift investigative process.”

The first incident occurred in late January, when it is alleged a Black child was locked alone in an isolation room at John Fisher for 30 minutes. Since then, the advocacy group Parents of Black Children has come forward with two additional cases at the same school.

As of yesterday, the new incidents had not yet been reported to the TDSB, and the response from OPC does not address the additional complaints.

OPC is an organization of some 5,000 represent elementary and secondary school leaders from across Ontario.

“We’ve had another parent come forward last night about her child being sent to the office constantly and on a regular basis and also being locked, detained or imprisoned in this isolation room,” said Charline Grant, co-founder of PBC, speaking at a press conference on March 8.

In addition, it has been reported that other parents from the John Fisher community have launched a petition to defend the teacher, vice-principal and principal put on “home assignment,” pending an investigation into the allegations.

The petition, according to a Toronto Star story, “expresses support for the teacher and calls for the investigation to be conducted in ‘a fair and timely fashion’ for all three staffers, asks the area superintendent to organize an in-person, all-school meeting to allow parents to ‘provide background information that is pertinent to the case.'”

A TDSB investigation is underway and spokesperson Ryan Bird said the school board is committed to taking the necessary steps on each action that is reported.

“During the investigation, the principal, vice principal and a teacher have been put on home assignment to allow us time to better understand what occurred,” the statement read. “We are working to complete this investigation as soon as possible and will support the student and their family in any way we can.”

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