Disrupt Anti-Black Racism at Queen Victoria Public School in Parkdale (Toronto)

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In mid April 2020, members of Queen Victoria Public School’s Black Student Success Committee (QV BSSC) received a copy of a hate letter that was sent to the former QVPS Vice Principal.


The hate letter was written and mailed in January 2020 by one of our own Queen Victoria staff. In the letter, six teachers at our school are named as past and future targets for removal. Five of the teachers named in the letter are Black. The other is a non-Black person of colour and ally.


The letter threatens to have all of the Black and racialized teachers named removed from Queen Victoria. As a result, all five Black teachers have been on leave of absence since January, 2020.


A copy of the letter can be read here.


As parents and guardians of children attending Queen Victoria, it is disturbing to learn that the TDSB has been aware of this incident since January of 2020, but has failed to identify the person who wrote the letter. Additionally, under the guise of privacy, TDSB failed to inform the QV community (including students, parents, and educators) that a staff member had sent this hate mail and why all Black teachers were on leave. This robbed the school community of the opportunity to speak with our children or provide any support to the impacted teachers.


We cannot entrust the safety of our children or their educators to Queen Victoria Public School until the staff member(s) responsible for the letter is identified and removed. The TDSB has agreed to conduct a third-party investigation to determine which staff member is responsible.


If you have any information that may support this investigation, please contact Ms. Esi Codjoe who is leading the investigation at (647) 812-8152 or tdsb@tmllp.ca Any privacy concerns should be addressed with the investigator.


This horrible incident of anti-Black racism is not isolated, but part of a deep-rooted system of discrimination.


On May 8, 2020, QV BSSC and school council executives met with Director of Education John Malloy and his senior team.


Our series of questions about the timeline of events revealed weeks of harmful inaction and avoidance on the parts of Superintendent Sondra Tondat, Executive Superintendent Sandy Spyropolous and elected School Trustee Robin Pilkey.


After hearing our concerns, Dr. Malloy assigned new interim Superintendents to Queen Victoria, and new policies about the reporting of incidents of discrimination are being implemented, but this is not enough. 


By the TDSB’s own admission, their initial investigation into these events was “conducted and ended with an inconclusive finding” in February 2020. Had the QV BSSC not brought the hate mail to light, there is no reason to believe this issue would have ever been addressed publicly.


We must continue to demand greater transparency, action and accountability from TDSB leadership, including Trustee Pilkey, in addressing and disrupting anti-Black racism at Queen Victoria P.S. and throughout the TDSB.


We ask that TDSB:

  • Complete the hate mail investigation conclusively and remove the person(s) responsible for writing and sending the hate mail by August 15, 2020. If it cannot be determined who in fact was responsible, TDSB must assure administrator/executive accountability for the failure to inform and protect impacted members of the QV community from this action.
  • Provide the QV BSSC and school council with an update on the Toronto Police Services investigation led by Detective Escott at 51 Division, including a decision and reasoning by the Crown Attorney on whether this incident constitutes a hate crime or criminal harassment by June 15, 2020.
  • Provide QV BSSC and school council with names of all members of the search committee responsible for recommending an Interim and Permanent Director of Education to replace John Malloy.
  • Mandate that a proven track record of effective and transformative work in anti-Black racism be a prerequisite to consideration for the Interim and Permanent Director of Education roles.

For a better understanding of the timeline of events, read the May 26 Toronto Star story here.

Thank you for your support.