Quebec mother awarded damages for school racism says board has changed nothing
MONTREAL -- A Montreal-area school board has been told to pay $30,000 in damages to a local family to compensate them for years of racist bullying.
But the mother of the Rosemere family, Adrienne Charles, says she's concerned that it won't change anything for other kids.
"The thing is, the Black kids of that school and school board are being called the n-word and nothing changes, it still continues," she told CTV News.
"You go to school to learn about math, French, science. Not to deal or struggle with 'Oh I'm Black, okay, what will happen today, will I be called the n-word?' You know that's not normal."
Four years after Charles filed her first complaint, the Quebec Human Rights Commission ordered the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board, which covers the area west of Laval, to pay the family $12,000 for each of Charles' two children and $6,000 for her own experience.
The racial taunts they endured at school "destroyed their self esteem, completely destroyed their self esteem," she said.
The family has gone to the think tank the Center for Research Action on Race Relations, whose director, Fo Niemi, says there needs to be more personal responsibility assigned.
"The anti-bullying plan at the school apparently didn't work," Niemi said. "So these incidents kept happening. And we believe, ultimately, the chair of the school board should be held responsible, not only to set the tone but to create a learning environment free from discrimination and harassment."
The school board told CTV News that it acknowledges the Human Rights Commission's recommendations but won't comment any further.
The president of the school board at the time Charles made her complaint was Jennifer Maccarone, who's now the Liberal MNA for the area.
She said she can't comment on the current case but said she feels for the family and applauds the mother for speaking out.
"I hope that people are going to continue to have that dialogue," she said, "so that we can teach our kids and equip our families... to know what's right and what's wrong, so that we hopefully don't have to deal with situations like this anymore."
Charles said she's not finished trying to fight the problem just because her family's gotten a ruling.
In fact, given that the school board hasn't yet paid the damages, the case will now go before the human rights tribunal.