Couple pulls daughter from school after alleged "anti-American" remarks
Joanne Schnurr, CTV Ottawa
Published Monday, November 30, 2015 5:42PM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 30, 2015 6:36PM EST
An Ottawa couple has pulled their daughter out of a Catholic school, claiming the teacher made anti-American remarks. The 13-year-old girl has dual citizenship; she's part American and says the comments offended her and tonight the board issued an apology to the family.
The comments came during a discussion around terrorism, after the attacks in Paris and a comparison, the girl says that the teacher made between those attacks and the nuclear bomb the U.S. dropped on Japan, saying the Americans were the real terrorists.
At the family house in the south end of Ottawa, there is a small irony in the choice of board game that the family has gathered to play; ‘Sorry.’
13-year-old Addison Yale would like nothing better than to hear ‘sorry’ from her teacher for remarks Addison says she made days after the terrorist attacks earlier this month in Paris.
Addison says her teacher at St. Francis Xavier School likened the terrorist attacks to the American attacks on Japan during World War Two.
‘She said because they are the only country to have used nuclear weapons, that the Americans are the real terrorists.’
Addison's father is Canadian and her mother, American; Addison and her little brother have dual citizenship.
‘I raised my hand to tell her I’m American,’ says Addison, ‘in the hopes that she would stop talking about that because I started feeling a little bit offended.’
Addison says her teacher replied ‘Do you want a prize or something?’
The family says the comments led to an incident two days later with another student who they say then bullied their daughter and also made anti-American remarks.
‘This girl said (to me) she would skate up to Americans, slap them,’ Addison recalls, ‘and with her hand, she made gun gestures and shooting sounds.’
The parents demanded the school deal with the issue. They say they were not satisfied with the school’s response or the response from the Ottawa Catholic School Board’s Superintendent, with whom they met on Friday.
‘Unless we kept her in the same class with the same teacher,’ says Trista Yale, Addison’s mother, ‘we were told that there was no room for her at this school. So we pulled her out.’
Addison now attends a public school that goes to Grade 8.
The Catholic School Board said it is disappointed it wasn't able to resolve this issue to the family's satisfaction. In a statement, the director of education, Denise André said:
“The Ottawa Catholic School Board strives to ensure a safe, caring and inclusive environment in all our schools. One of our students has indicated that this was not her experience, and for that I am truly sorry.
As a Catholic school system we have a strong commitment to make sure our school communities are places where everyone feels welcome. Through the efforts of the school’s administration and the superintendent, we have reached out to the parents of this student, and we are disappointed that we have not been able to resolve it to their satisfaction. We do not want even one family to leave without the situation being resolved satisfactorily. So, although the parents have made a decision that they believe is in the best interests of their child, we continue to value and encourage a strong relationship between home and school. We will continueto work to prevent such a situation occurring in the future.’
Addison’s father, John Yale, says the teaching was incredibly short-sighted, given the relationship between Canada and the U.S. and the multi-cultural make-up of our country.
‘To basically teach our kids that our closest ally is a country full of terrorists,’ says John Yale, ‘and with Canada being full of immigration and cultural diversity and talk about refugees coming? And the fact my daughter was in the centre of all this, I couldn’t handle it.’
The Yales say if there is one positive out of this; that they taught their daughter to stand up for herself and they say she did just that.