A letter pleading for help with alleged out-of-control violence at a Mississauga middle school has spurred an investigation by the Peel District School Board.
The anonymous letter, which appears to be written by a staff member and has been widely circulating on social media since late last week, claims that the students, teachers and staff of Tomken Road Middle School “have been faced with countless unsafe interactions” and “the climate of our school is one of violence, fear and is well on its way to being one of long lasting trauma for many students.”
The letter goes on to list some disturbing examples of purported “disorderly conduct,” which has taken place at the school since September.
“Students have defecated on the floor of bathrooms and rubbed their feces on the wall,” the letter says. “Students are threatening others with exacto knives,” and “will threaten any physical violence to any staff or students in the building.”
Other incidents listed include students stealing wallets and phones, and getting into physical fights before, during and after school, which “are filmed and then distributed.”
“Students are scared to go to the bathroom so much that they soil themselves at school,” the letter says.
School board chair David Green said the board is investigating the allegations.
“It is pretty alarming,” he said of the allegations. “That’s why we’re taking it very, very seriously.”
Green said the superintendent has visited the school, that staff are being supported and that a third-party has been called in to investigate the allegations.
“We are not leaving any stone unturned. We will make sure that our investigation gets to the bottom of this,” he said.
Malon Edwards, spokesperson for the Peel District School Board, also confirmed in an email that investigations are underway and “student suspensions have taken place.”
“The Superintendent is also aware and is at the school today facilitating a series of scheduled meetings with staff throughout the week,” Edwards said.
This news follows a Toronto District School Board report on school safety last week, which showed that a total of 323 students have been involved in violence on school premises between September and April.
The Toronto board said that was the highest number since at least 2018-19, when 267 students were involved in violence on school grounds. This academic year’s figure is on track to reach a new high, since data on violence started being collected in 2000, if the current trend continues.
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario last week also said that three-quarters of its members reported experiencing or witnessing violence against staff members.
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