Peggy Aitchison, the principal at the Etobicoke School of the Arts, drafted a list composed only of black students' names and shared it with other staff, Newsweek reports.
The list included the school valedictorian.
After the list got out, Aitchison, who's being transferred to another school, call it "a limited, flawed and ultimately inappropriate approach to identifying gaps in supports and so, that very same day, I retracted that compilation that was based solely on perceptions,” the Globe and Mail reported.
While her intentions may have been good, the idea that black students in particular needed to be tracked in this manner suggests a lack of faith in their abilities. That's reflected in reactions students had when they found themselves on the list.
CBC, which first reported the story, interviewed Marlee Sansom, a student on the list who undercut Aitchison's claim that she was trying to bridge the achievement gap between white and black students.
As valedictorian of this year's graduating class, Sansom nevertheless ended up on the list—she pointed out that Aitchison's defense was not convincing.
"At our school, black students exceed performance expectations, and because it's not a diverse school they have to work twice as hard," she told CBC Toronto.
Students are calling for her resignation, but she was merely transferred. “Transferring someone just means they get a new start, a fresh start, and she can just redo that trauma somewhere else,” said the 18-year-old. "It doesn’t help the students that are still in the school.”
Another student, who's name was on the list, said he felt "pure sadness.”