The London, Ontario director, who was removed from his job for wearing a black student’s hair as part of a Halloween costume, has apologized, saying his behavior is unacceptable and shows “a great lack of judgment”.
Luc Chartrand was the director of Monseigneur-Bruyère, a French-speaking Catholic high school, when he wore a student’s cut dreadlocks as a wig on two separate incidents in 2019.
In his statement emailed to CBC News, Chartrand said wearing your hair as if it were your own was “totally unacceptable”.
“I sincerely apologize for the incidents and my personal conduct at the events that led to all this uproar over racist allegations at the École Secondaire Catholique Monseigneur-Bruyère,” he wrote.
One of the incidents occurred during a rally in a gym in support of a student suffering from cancer. The students shaved their heads and after shaving off their dreadlocks, Chartrand pinned his hair on his head and started fooling around for the crowd. The incident is captured online in a four-second clip, and CBC News spoke to a student who was at the event and confirmed that it happened.
Students also said in interviews that Chartrand then wore the wig a second time six months later as part of a Halloween costume.
Letter requesting changes ignored: City Council
In his statement, Chartrand also said: “I am very sorry and ashamed of what I have done. I realize that I could and should have celebrated this student’s accomplishments and achievements in other ways. I would like to sincerely apologize to the student and his family, all black students and parents in the school, the entire school community and also the entire BIPOC community. ”
A picture of Chartrand with the hair was posted on Black Lives Matter London’s Instagram account on Friday night. A short clip was later posted of Chartrand wearing the hair at the gym. The pictures and videos were sent to the group by the students at the school.
Conseil Scolaire Catholique announced on Saturday that Chartrand would be removed from office.
A former college student, who spoke to CBC News on condition that she remained anonymous, said that by putting on her hair, Chartrand assumed the identity of the black student. She said the act smelled of cultural appropriation and poor judgment for a responsible person at the school.
Coun. Arielle Kayabaga attended school as a teenager but left before graduation because she cited a climate of racism at school.
Kayabaga also said the school should have acted proactively once the administrators learned of Chartand’s actions.
Pictures of Chartrand wearing the hair were widely viewed when the event first took place in 2019, students said. A letter to the administrators requesting changes to the school was ignored, Kayabaga said.
“The students had to use social media to solve a problem they had two years ago,” she said. “Last year they submitted a letter and nothing was done. I am very concerned about the students who attend this school and the safety of these students. ”
In the statement announcing the dismissal of Chartrand as principal, school board director Joseph Picard said the board was taking steps to improve diversity and inclusion in the school.
London morning7:57Racist act unacceptable