PDSB to back down on legal action against Black advocacy groups

Peter Joshua, Director of Education of the PDSB. Photo from @PeelSchools Twitter

Education Minister Stephen Lecce has asked Peel District School Board’s new supervisor to withdraw litigation against community groups promoting black advocacy. This comes just hours after announcing the hiring of Bruce Rodrigues as the board’s new supervisor.

Joshua, the Director of Education for the Peel District School was pursuing legal action against local Black advocacy groups for comments made on social media. The accounts targeted include: WeRiseTogether1, AdvocacyPeel, Peelblackyouth1, HomeIsPeel, PeelBlackParent and MinistryPeel.

Following the release of reports by the Ontario Ministry of Education and human rights lawyer Arleen Huggins, these organizations took to social media to demand for Joshua’s resignation.

In response, Joshua and the school board’s Vice-Chair David Green, were asking the Superior Court of Ontario to demand the personal information and IP addresses of the account administrators. They believe that these accounts have been posting false and defamatory information against the board.

According to Joshua, this was a necessary step to protect PDSB employees from harassment. He commented that these tweets “were not legitimate attempts to engage in any kind of dialogue about the important issues the board is addressing”.

Dr. Tope Adefarakan, Education Strategist of Advocacy Peel, has indicated that the targeted organizations will fight back. The group has hired Alex Battick, a local lawyer who specializes in education law. Battick argues that issues came to light because of the social media accounts.

Taijah Cox-Armstrong, one of the youth organizers of the recent Peel March for Justice says that plans are underway to organize a rally at the HJA Brown Education Centre to protest this lawsuit. Residents can support the targeted organizations by participating in the rally and by donating to a legal defense fund established by The Urban Alliance on Race Relations.

Edited by Ananya Jaikumar

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