March 31, 2017

Peel board decries actions of individual inciting students to record Friday Prayer in return for money

The Peel District School Board condemns the actions of an individual who this week released a video inciting students to secretly videotape Muslim students participating in Friday Prayer in return for money. Clearly, this individual is trying to bribe students as an incentive to breach privacy laws. The video itself prejudges our Muslim students in a way that is both unfair and untrue.

This is hate-filled showmanship by someone who wants attention for an ongoing attack on valued members of our school community. It is a campaign that encourages hatred, and makes our students, staff and community feel unsafe and targeted. That is simply wrong. 

The Peel board values inclusion—we stand with our Muslim community and all those who join together for inclusion in rejecting this cruel campaign. 

While we condemn this hate-filled action, we will not provide a spotlight for his circus of hate. We will not be commenting on this campaign or this individual beyond this statement. It simply provides him with attention for his campaign of hatred.

For those interested in facts, including that the sermon is delivered in English with a staff supervisor present, please see our #KeyFacts about religious accommodation. 

Yesterday, we made our school administrators aware of this video, and asked for them to remind staff of the need for vigilance. Specifically, "personal devices can only be used in schools for educational purposes, as directed by staff. It is important that you make staff who supervise Friday prayer at your school aware  of this challenge and ask them to be extra vigilant in their supervision and that  this invasion of privacy is not appropriate."

Today, an announcement was made at all secondary schools, and a message was sent to all elementary and secondary parents to make them aware of the following information posted on all school websites: 

Important information about inappropriate video being shared online

We wanted to let you know that we have been made aware of a highly inappropriate video that is being shared online that challenges individuals to secretly videotape Muslim students participating in Friday prayer. This is a clear violation of privacy and will not be tolerated in any Peel District School Board school.

To say that we are disappointed and disheartened by the contents of the video is an understatement. Not only does the video prejudge our Muslim students in a way that is both unfair and untrue, but it also encourages the inappropriate behaviour of other students in our school communities.

As outlined in the Peel board's Safe Schools Policy, we actively promote school environments that are free from the unethical use of technology, hate-related behaviour and language, and harassment and discrimination. In addition, personal devices can only be used in schools for educational purposes, as directed by staff. Violations of this policy and school codes of conduct are subject to progressive discipline. Please ensure your child/teen understands their obligations.

​Together, we can stand against injustice, and work to ensure everyone feels safe, welcomed and included in our school communities. Thank you for your support.

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