Parkdale Collegiate teacher sent home amid ‘blackface’ investigation

“What was he thinking really, is my question”

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They could not believe one of their high school teachers decided to make blackface his Halloween costume.

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Students at Parkdale Collegiate are angry after a teacher sported blackface to school Friday, triggering an uproar and an investigation.

“I heard a about it right away,” said Grade 12 student Maya. “I was shocked. Especially because it is at Parkdale. It’s very multicultural here.”

“What was he thinking really, is my question,” said Grade 12 student John. “I can’t even fathom what was going through his mind that morning getting ready and coming to school like that.”

Students said Monday that the school provided guidance counsellors for anyone who wanted to talk about what happened.

“I feel like it was very traumatizing for students,” said one student who did not wish to be identified.

“We go to a diverse school, and he’s an adult. Why would you come to school full of teenagers that are all people of colour?” she said “Why would you come here and think this is a good idea? ‘I’m going to just come in with black paint all over my face.’ It was totally traumatizing for a lot of students of colour.”

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The Toronto District School Board reacted quickly.

“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,” Principal Julie Ardell wrote in a statement issued by the board.

She said a student brought the blackface to the attention of a vice principal late in the morning Friday.

“Anti-black racism, including blackface, and all forms of discrimination, contravene our school Code of Conduct and multiple TDSB policies and procedures,” Ardell said in a statement, adding, “I would like to thank the students who came forward to identify this to staff. They did the right thing.”

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The teacher is on home assignment pending the investigation. The Toronto Sun’s attempts to reach the teacher were unsuccessful.

“To think that someone wouldn’t use their brain cells. And came to a school full of people of colour and thought that was OK, it’s just shocking,” said another student who wished to remain anonymous.

Photos of the teacher circulated quickly on social media.

“I feel like the students took more actions than the teachers. Other teachers saw him and didn’t say anything. If a student didn’t take a picture and post it, it wouldn’t be this big,” another student added.

“If we didn’t have our phones, what would’ve happened? Nothing.”

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