Racism is inexcusable in any context.
As residents of over 15 years in Niagara-on-the-Lake, my wife, who was Black, and I experienced racism here but we always felt it was declining and the community was evolving toward a more enlightened society.
She passed away five years ago, leaving a great void in my life, which friends here helped to fill.
I would not want the media of Ontario to target NOTL in the way it did the Simcoe Board of Education. On the face of it, racism in Simcoe was compounded by a reluctance to tackle the matter of racism, overt racism, head-on.
When a young Black student was repeatedly targeted, the system did not respond appropriately.
I sent the following letter to the Simcoe board, but, not surprisingly, have not had a reply:
I read with horror, literal horror, of the events in your schools targeting, yes targeting, Black students.
My wife was Black (I am now a widower at age 80) and we raised and schooled three children in eastern Ontario, namely Frontenac County.
Throughout their primary and secondary schooling there, they never had a racial experience. This was in the 1970s.
You and your board have clearly taken Canada backward: you should be deeply ashamed of racist white students being tolerated in your school.
You should be deeply ashamed of your virtual lack of response to the virulent racism on display in your school. You should be deeply ashamed of your lack of response and lack of policy to deal with the situation and change the “culture” of your schools.
You should be deeply ashamed of having allowed racism to take root in your schools and not dealing with it expeditiously from the beginning. You should be deeply ashamed of allowing a young child (and quite likely a number of Black and brown children) to be traumatized by hate in your schools, to the point where the family has no recourse but to move or to take legal action.
Clearly you, the board, have been negligent on a number of counts.
You, as a board, seem unable to empathize with young children being targeted with racist hate. As educators you have abdicated your responsibility to “educate” and “socialize” our children.
Basically, the entire school board should resign, as should the director of education and his staff. There is no place in our Canada for people like you all.
Not “sincerely,” but with “Shock and horror,”