Teacher who wore blackface to school 'no longer employed' by TDSB, superintendent says

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In a letter home to parents, caregivers and students on Wednesday, Debbie Donsky, superintendent of education, said a teacher who wore blackface to Parkdale Collegiate Institute on Oct. 29 is 'no longer employed' by the Toronto District School Board. (CBC - image credit)
In a letter home to parents, caregivers and students on Wednesday, Debbie Donsky, superintendent of education, said a teacher who wore blackface to Parkdale Collegiate Institute on Oct. 29 is 'no longer employed' by the Toronto District School Board. (CBC - image credit)

A teacher who wore blackface to a high school for Halloween is "no longer employed" by the Toronto District School Board, a superintendent says.

Debbie Donsky said in a letter home to parents, caregivers and students on Wednesday that the board investigated the incident at Parkdale Collegiate Institute on Oct. 29

"The investigation is now complete and the appropriate consequences have been applied. I can confirm that the staff member is no longer employed by the Toronto District School Board," Donsky said in the letter.

The board placed the teacher on home assignment pending the outcome of the investigation, she said. The teacher has not been identified.

"As we said in our first letter informing you of this incident, caricatures of peoples' race or culture are not appropriate and are offensive and hurtful. Regardless of whether this was intended or not, it was racist and dehumanizing," Donsky said.

"Anti-Black racism, including Blackface, and all forms of discrimination, contravene the school Code of Conduct and multiple TDSB policies and procedures. Staff or students who engage in racist and discriminatory behaviours can face serious consequences."

The incident made headlines and caused an outcry among parents and students. Last Saturday, a rally was held outside Parkdale Collegiate Institute calling for an end to anti-Black racism at Toronto schools.

Parents and students demanded at the rally that the teacher be fired.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, which represents teachers across the province, could not be immediately reached for comment.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

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