Saunders teacher investigated over racial slur

Saunders Secondary School on Viscount Road. Photo from Google Maps Street View.

A teacher at a London secondary school has been removed from the classroom as the school board investigates the alleged use of a racial slur in class.

According to the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB), a student at Saunders Secondary School reported an incident to the administration in which the teacher allegedly used a racial slur while reading aloud lyrics to popular music.

The teacher has not been identified by the board, but the class in which the incident took place was Grade 12 English.

“My expectation is that all staff are aware there is no justifiable reason to use racist words in a Thames Valley school,” said TVDSB Director of Education Mark Fisher. “Using words that reflect a history of white colonialism, oppression, and racism, even in the context of deconstructing art or music, can create traumatic, emotional triggers for racialized students. The Thames Valley District School Board is committed to equitable outcomes for all students.”

The TVDSB has been working on a comprehensive inclusion plan for several years. Fisher said guidelines are being developed on staff refraining from using racial, sexist, homophobic, and misogynistic slurs.

“We have been working hard to develop a document to provide teachers with guidance that makes it crystal clear to everyone that racist language is never appropriate at school,” said Fisher. “It is important for our staff to create learning environments in which all students feel safe and comfortable, physically, socially, emotionally, and in terms of their identities.”

The plan is expected to be provided to staff members in the months ahead. Fisher also said that the entire board was required to take diversity training on November 12.