Markham: Principal apologizes for Facebook posts criticizing Muslim migrant influx
A Markham elementary school principal has apologized for her “discriminatory” social media posts and says she pledges to learn from her actions and create an “open and inclusive” school community.
In September, the York Region District School Board said it was investigating after being notified about anti-Muslim postings on the Facebook page of Ghada Sadaka, a principal at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Public School.
After months of silence, Sadaka’s apology was posted on the school board’s website Thursday, under the weekly message from director J. Philip Parappally.
“As an educator for 26 years, my days are filled with ensuring that the students with whom I am entrusted are given constant opportunities to learn,” Sadaka’s statement said. “In the last two months, I have been the one who has learned a number of lessons about how sharing inappropriate posts on social media has affected those around me, my reputation and the reputation of one of the most diverse school boards in the country.
“I apologize for my actions and accept responsibility for ensuring that I learn from them,” Sadaka wrote.
Sadaka said she “did not intend to be disrespectful towards any group or individual and I sincerely regret the upset this has caused to those who were offended by the posts.
“Upon reflection, I accept that sharing the posts was discriminatory, and should not have occurred. I am committed to improving my understanding of human rights issues, and ensuring that I am more careful, respectful and aware of what I post and share on social media.”
Some of the Facebook posts the principal is alleged to have shared and commented on include: videos purportedly showing violent “Muslim takeovers” of Paris and London, and one headlined: “Must see: Dutch mayor tells fellow Muslims they can f—— if they don’t like freedom.”
Sadaka didn’t respond to a request for comment Thursday.
In his weekly message Parappally, the school board director, said he appreciated Sadaka’s apology and “believe all of us within the Board can use this as an opportunity to learn and grow.
“As one of the most diverse regions in the country, we have a responsibility to continue the work of equity,” he said.
The statement was issued on the same day Parappally and board chair Anna DeBartolo met Education Minister Mitzie Hunter to discuss allegations of racism and trustee transparency, that the Star has chronicled over the past year.
“As previously disclosed, this was the minister’s first meeting with the chair and director and she used this opportunity to discuss her expectations of Ontario’s publicly funded education system to be one of inclusion and opportunity, a beacon of equity and respect, and a strong example of transparency and efficient use of precious student funding,” said spokesman Patrick Searle.
Parappally’s message on the school board website doesn’t clarify the outcome of the investigation into the principal, or say if the policy for such investigations was followed. Last month, two trustees asked the board to confirm if proper policy was followed during their investigation.
The board has said the investigation was a confidential personnel matter. Previously, board spokesman Licinio Miguelo said: “I can confirm that in any case where such allegations are brought forward all applicable policies and regulations are strictly followed.”
York Region parents said that while they welcome Sadaka’s apology, they still have concerns.
“This is a good first step,” said parent Naeem Siddiqi, after speaking to parents with children who attend Sir Wilfrid Laurier Public School. “But what (Sadaka) needs to do is start a dialogue with parents and children, and take steps to show that she is sincere.
Original article courtesy of Toronto Star