Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

The family of a black Ontario teen is suing a Toronto-area school board, alleging officials at his high school failed to properly investigate and prevent months of racist bullying and attacks by white students.

In a statement of claim filed last week, the family says the teen, identified only as E.H., was the target of racist verbal and physical attacks as well as threats from September through last month.

They allege the incidents were repeatedly reported to officials at his Newmarket, Ont., high school, but the complaints were not properly investigated.

Story continues below advertisement

The family further alleges administrators responded by suspending the teen multiple times along with his harassers, who are not identified in the document.

The statement of claim says that as a result of the violent bullying, E.H. suffered several injuries – including a concussion – and became anxious, fearful and at times suicidal.

The allegations have not been tested in court and the York Region District School Board has not yet filed a statement of defence. But its director of education issued a statement denouncing racism and violence.

“It is heartbreaking to see anti-black racism manifest itself in any form, particularly through violence. Such actions are not acceptable in our schools or communities,” Louise Sirisko said in the statement.

“We take anti-black racism extremely seriously and put in place supports for those affected, however, this is not the experience we want for any of our students. We are sorry for the hurt this experience is causing.”

The teen’s family alleges the board was negligent in addressing what was happening to E.H. and failed in its duty to ensure a safe environment for him. It is seeking $1-million in damages as well as the reimbursement for the costs of the legal action.

“In spite of a safe schools policy, a zero-tolerance policy on bullying and physical aggression, and an anti-racism policy, no one at the YRDSB took action to protect E.H. In fact, YRDSB’s actions in suspending E.H., added insult to injury,” the statement of claim says.

Story continues below advertisement

“Due to a combination of the continued harassment, bullying and assaults, of which YRDSB was aware, E.H’s grades and school performance began to drop. The pain, anxiety, stress, feelings of insecurity, and lack of safety at school made it difficult for E.H. to stay focused and attend school.”

The statement of claim says the incidents began at the start of the school year, when a group of Grade 11 and 12 students hurled racist insults and threats at E.H., including telling him to “go and kill himself.”

The document alleges the harassment was reported to school officials and both the perpetrators and E.H. were suspended.

The following month, E.H. was suspended again for being in a fight, when in fact he was defending himself from his attackers, the document alleges. The school would not confirm whether the other students were disciplined, the family claims. The same thing happened again a few weeks later, it says.

On several occasions, E.H.’s mother asked that he be transferred to another school, but that request was denied, the document says. Administrators also made repeated promises to keep the teen safe and look into the bullying, the claim says.

The harassment continued in person and on social media over the next few months, it says. In February, E.H.’s harassers pushed him down the school’s main staircase, the document alleges.

Story continues below advertisement

Later that month, the teen’s head was slammed into a porcelain water fountain, an attack that was recorded and distributed on social media, it alleges. There were other incidents in the following weeks that resulted in suspensions, it says.

The statement of claim says that when E.H. returned to the school in April to pick up his belongings, he was arrested by police because someone made a false report that he had brought weapons to school.

The teen’s mother then contacted police to report the April incidents, which led officers to charge two of the other students with assault, the statement alleges.

The lawsuit alleges the school should have reported the incidents to police, the students’ parents and the Children’s Aid Society.

Follow related topics

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies