A white substitute teacher in Canada was caught mocking a black child’s hair on her Instagram stories, comparing it Marlon Wayans’s hair the 1996 parody Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, in which Wayans played Loc Dog. The image is captioned: “Who rocked it better?? LOLOLOL.” A Twitter user caught the teacher and posted the photo online, and now the responsible school district board has opened an investigation.
Hi @PeelSchools, please be informed that a grade school teacher with your district is 1) openly mocking her students’ appearance and posting photos of them on social media 2) tagging the location of the school on her Instagram, putting them in danger. pic.twitter.com/Y3JNwz8EIf— Fool of a Took! (@giaper) June 2, 2018
This is not the kind of behaviour I expect from educators. This is so embarrassing and honestly fully racist. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of qualified teachers who are waiting for teaching positions, and this is who our children learn from?— Fool of a Took! (@giaper) June 2, 2018
The Peel district school board answered the original user’s tweet, confirming the school has initiated an investigation and thanking the user for bringing the matter to their attention. In another tweet, the board also confirmed the matter is being investigated as “anti-Black racism.”
I can confirm this is under investigation by the superintendent of the school and being addressed swiftly. We thank @giaper for bringing it to our attention.— Peel District School Board (@PeelSchools) June 3, 2018
I can assure you it’s being investigated as anti-Black racism and being taken seriously.— Peel District School Board (@PeelSchools) June 4, 2018
Toronto City News reports that the substitute teacher in question has been banned from communicating with students or teachers. The teacher taught kindergarten and has now also been barred from taking any future shifts with the district. The teacher was not, however, identified, and the Instagram account that posted the original offensive photo has been deleted.
Carla Pereira, a spokesperson for the Peel district school board, described the situation as “simply unacceptable.” She is unsure how long the investigation will take, but the board’s social media guidelines for teachers allow for three possible punishments: verbal reprimand, attending sensitivity training, or termination.
“You’d be hard-pressed to look at that particular image and say that it’s not a post that would be considered racism,” Pereira told City News. “You look at it, you look at the use of Black stereotypes and you look at how the child is being compared to another individual in not a very nice way. I think you’d be very hard-pressed to say that it’s not anti-Black racism—even though that’s what we’re hearing from some members of the community who are saying its just a joke, it’s really not racist.”