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Ontario Sikhs calls for resignation of PDSB’s Director of Education Amidst Systemic Anti-Black Racism

June 18, 2020 | By

Brampton, Canada: The Ontario Gurdwaras Committee (OGC) said in a written statement (copy available with Sikh Siyasat News) that it is gravely concerned about the recent findings from the Ministry of Education’s Review and subsequent independent investigation regarding the continued acts of systemic racism and anti-Black racism in the Peel District School Board (PDSB).

“We stand in solidarity with members of the Black community who have been fighting for their children to enter a school system that is free from racism and discrimination. We call for the resignation of PDSB Director of Education, Peter Joshua”, reads the statement released by Amarjit Singh Mann, Spokesperson of Ontario Gurdwaras Committee.

FILE PHOTO – IMAGE USED FOR REPRESENTATIONAL PURPOSE ONLY | Representatives of Sikh Gurdwara Management Committees in Ontario, Canada [2018]

The statement notes that [t]he Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, launched an expedited review of the PDSB to address serious concerns of anti-Black racism, Islamophobia and systemic inequities on November 27, 2019. The findings were troubling, and the Minister of Education levied 27 Binding Directives to the PDSB to address systemic racism and anti-Black racism.

“On June 8, 2020, a follow-up report was released by independent investigator, Arleen Huggins on the PDSB’s non-compliance with several of the Directives. This report’s findings were both shocking and horrific. Not only were there questions surrounding the competency and functionality of the PDSB leadership, but also regarding a lack of will to address anti-Black racism”, it notes further.

The OGC said that it was appalled by the findings and stands by, and in solidarity with, Black community members and organizations fighting injustices at the Peel District School Board.

“We strive for a school system that treats all children, from all backgrounds with respect and dignity’, said OGC.

“We call on Minister Lecce to take swift action on the findings of the Investigator. We believe the time for decisive action and accountability is now. For far too long anti-Black racism and other forms of systemic racism have been allowed to thrive under the leadership of the PDSB. The Director of Education, Peter Joshua must resign”, OGC statement reads.

“The focus of all education systems including the PDSB, should be excellence for all students, including Black students who deserve access to quality education in a supportive environment free of racism and discrimination”, the statement reads further.

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