Concerned Parents

June 22, 2010 09:55 ET

Queen's Plate Drive Parents Demand Their Children Be Returned to Their Neighbourhood School

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 22, 2010) - On Wednesday, June 23 at 6 pm, the parents of children on Queen's Plate Drive in Rexdale, will be coming back to the Toronto District School Board to demand their children be returned to their neighbourhood school, Humberwood Downs.

Ten years ago approximately 90 (mostly Somali) children from Queen's Plate Drive were forced out of Humberwood Downs to make room for children from wealthier families.

They were sent to Elmbank, a school much further away and across very dangerous roads. (See the attached map.) Elmbank was a much poorer school than Humberwood. It had much fewer resources and many more black children, especially Somali children.

The parents say this was "out-and-out segregation," a "racist restructuring of school boundaries." After eight months getting nowhere with Board officials, they are bringing their case to the Human Rights Commission through the African Canadian Legal Clinic.

On June 23, they are asking the TDSB one more time to reverse the decision to force their children out of their neighbourhood school.

"This separation from our neighbourhood school has been very hard on our children," says Hibo Hagi-Nur, one of the co-chairs of the parents' group. "They have lost most of their after-school activities. They can't go home for lunch and are often left roaming about a dangerous neighbourhood, where criminal and gang activities are all too prevalent. And parents get little chance to regularly interact with their children's teachers, which is crucial if we are to strengthen our children's hopes of success in school."

Abdullah Wardhere, the other co-chair of the parents' group, says "this is such a clear case of racism and social class bias, it is really hard to believe that our trustees can avoid dealing with this issue. Many of our trustees seem to be decent people. How can they let this happen?" he asks. "How can they listen to Director Chris Spence's "vision of hope" speech, when this sort of thing is continuing on the ground? The Board needs to act on what is happening to our children. How can they expect communities like ours to trust them, if they stay silent on issues like this?"

To view the map associated with this Press Release, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/MAP0621.pdf.

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