November 9, 2022 at 2:05 pm
The Lambton-Kent District School Board (LKDSB) is investigating a video posted on social media alleging a teacher at Chatham-Kent Secondary School (CKSS) made racist comments to a student.
Student who posted video to social media claims teacher told him to take off Durag Because he “looked like a gangster” wearing it at school a few weeks ago. Durag is a cloth used to cover the head, popular in African American culture. The student said he had been waiting to resolve the situation but had not done anything.
It is unclear if any corrective, disciplinary or other measures have been taken against teachers.
The student accused the school of trying to “cover up the truth”. He said he had to switch classes and catch up with weeks of work.
“I’m tired of waiting. They’re trying to cover up the situation. My teacher was racist towards me and this situation affected me a lot emotionally. It was wrong and something needs to be done,” the student said.
LKDSB director of education John Howitt told CK News Today that the school board is committed to Strategic Priorities for Inclusive Diversity and Advocacy for Anti-Oppression Education.
“We want our schools to provide positive, welcoming and safe spaces for all learners and staff,” Howitt said. “We continue to increase knowledge and awareness of LKDSB and the community through training, networking, outreach, school programs and professional learning opportunities.”
Howitt said the school is also offering professional development and training opportunities for staff, including Ontario Teachers College Anti-Black Racism Professional Advice.
“We will continue to work with students, parents/guardians, and staff to increase awareness and understanding of historical, systemic, and ongoing forms of racism and oppression, and to provide strategies for combating and reporting incidents,” said the director of education.
Howitt also encourages parents/guardians and students with questions or concerns about issues involving the school community to contact their child’s school directly.
Howitt noted that in order to protect personal information, the board could not provide any specific comment or further details about the incident.
“As with any issue we are aware of, the LKDSB follows appropriate board policies, regulations and procedures as needed,” he said.
Attempts to contact Chatham-Kent High School principal Ben Lawton about the matter were unsuccessful.
It’s unclear how long the school board’s investigation will take.