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Parents of York Memorial Students Demand Action Amid Growing Safety Concerns

Centre Court Developments

Toronto District School Board (TDSB) held a meeting on Thursday where parents of students from York Memorial Collegiate Institute voiced their concerns regarding an unsafe learning environment. The meeting follows complaints of safety issues and a lack of stable staffing presented by teachers and administrative staff.

York Memorial Collegiate Institute has been in the news for some time now. Last month, it was reported that there have been several fights in the school and there are safety concerns for students as well as the staff. This led to several members of the school’s administration, including the current principal, not coming in to work.

Earlier this week, it was reported that students were forming “fight clubs” in the bathrooms at York Memorial Collegiate Institute. Teachers were getting death threats and according to staff members, students were using the school bathrooms for drugs and sex acts. This was also echoed by several students to their parents. Several parents have come forward and shared their children are scared to go to school. They feel unsafe with all the violence and students getting arrested.

The reason for these issues, as acknowledged by the TDSB, is the merger of York Memorial and George Harvey Collegiate Institute this school year. In 2019, a fire broke out at York Memorial Collegiate institute causing the students to be shifted to George Harvey Collegiate Institute. This led to approximately 1,300 students attending the former George Harvey building, which has been renamed York Memorial.

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Parents and students were against this merger in the first place but the board pushed for it. Now, parents are demanding the school board do more to bring the situation under control so their children can feel safe.

The TDSB meeting was hosted by Trustee Liban Hassan who said, “I think it’s very important that I hear from these from the community, especially the parents of this school because this is a serious issue. And I’m taking this matter very seriously.” The school board said it has hired a permanent principal for York Memorial and is looking for two vice principals. An executive advisor has also been hired to focus on overseeing “the implementation of a plan to address school issues.”

The board is also actively looking to fill the vacant teaching positions. Another concern raised by the parents was the lack of active communication from the school’s side and the board confirmed weekly communication with parents to share updates on the school.

Vineet Washington

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