The York Region District School Board is holding a special meeting Dec. 3 to hear the concerns of the community regarding social media comments attributed to the trustee-elect for East Gwillimbury and Whitchurch-Stouffville, Elizabeth Terrell-Tracey.
“York Region District School Board is committed to championing the principles of equity and inclusivity,” said board chair Corrie McBain in a news release. “Comments that are racist, xenophobic or evoke any other form of hate have no place in public education or anywhere in society."
The special board meeting, which was prompted by requests from the community, will take place after the inaugural meeting, during which trustees will take the oath of office.
Under the Municipal Elections Act, the school board does not have the legal authority to enforce a resignation or remove an elected official from office. Accountability measures, such as the Trustee Code of Conduct, are only in place once trustees are sworn in.
Terrell-Tracy submitted a letter to the board Oct. 25, which was initially posted on the board's website, indicating she would withdraw from the position. Following her election Oct. 22, the community had raised concerns about her comments on Facebook regarding the other candidate for trustee, Lena Singh, during the campaign. However, she reconsidered the withdrawal the following day, according to McBain.
"The Facebook comments we have seen, regardless of context, were xenophobic, racist and hurtful," she stated in an online message to the community.
Members of the public who wish to make a presentation at this meeting may submit a request for delegate status through the board’s website or by contacting Corporate Secretariat and Trustee Services. Each delegation will be allotted five minutes to speak and preference will be given to York Region residents.
"Community engagement and building trust with our communities is an important priority for this board and we look forward to this meaningful opportunity to hear from our stakeholders,” McBain said.
The meeting will be held Monday, Dec. 3 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Aurora High School, 155 Wellington St. West.