Open Letter to Dr. Chris Spence, Director, Toronto District School Board

Re: Reinstatement of Ms. Charis Newton-Thompson as Principal

Dear Dr. Spence:

Greetings! As a member of the African community committed to justice, I fully support the reinstatement of Ms. Charis Newton-Thompson as principal with the TDSB.

During the significant time that I spent teaching with the TDSB, I kept my eyes fixed on equity. Indeed I vividly remember working with colleagues and members of the Board to transform Park P.S. into the first designated anti-racist school in Ontario.

At that time, our sacrifices were gladly embraced as a way of opening up space for competent and committed educators like Ms. Newton-Thompson, long denied equal opportunities because of their ancestry or identity, to become principals, superintendents and directors. We knew then, as I do now, that their inclusion would enrich the education of all our children.

Here, at Mount Saint Vincent University, I am tasked with building bridges so that more Aboriginal and African Nova Scotian students feel invited to choose education as a career. I am confident you would agree that recruitment becomes a cruel hoax, if qualified and successful educators from designated groups are first undermined, and then left dangling in the wind.

As observers, it pained our community to witness the pillorying of Ms. Newton-Thompson in the media, much as public floggings traumatized our Ancestors not so long ago. In my opinion, she was doubly victimized and apparently prevented from exercising her human right to defend her good name. Such situations, I believe, are in unambiguous violation of both our common humanity and the Human Rights policies of any board.

I am confident that as Director and representative of TDSB you are as anxious as we are to grant Ms. Newton-Thompson the earliest and fullest restitution. I also humbly suggest that such restitution should include sharing the revealed evidence by press conference with the society at large, in order to correct any misinformation that might still remain in circulation.


Clem Marshall

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