Friday, November 26, 2010

The Thunder Bay Hair Affair

A horrifying tale of a "human rights" violation ("tweeted" by the OHRC)  in the Trudeaupia is detailed here:
The haircutting incident at a Thunder Bay school that prevented a First Nation boy from following his traditional dancing practices is going before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

“It was traumatic for him, it was traumatic for the family,” said Julian Falconer, explaining the seven-year-old boy did not participate in traditional dancing for “some time” after his hair was cut by a teacher’s assistant at McKellar Park School in April 2009.

The family asked for accountability and were demeaned for doing it, that somehow they were in it for the money, Falconer said.

“How bizarre is that? If it were anybody else’s child, I can absolutely assure you they would have asked for and gotten accountability,” Falconer, a Toronto-based lawyer known for human rights and public interest litigation, said.

Falconer, who is representing the boy’s family, said suggestions that the family is following through with the case just for the money are “pretty offensive.”

“If you have a child and a teacher forces that child to submit to that teacher’s will, including having their hair cut, hair that was grown for ceremonial purposes, why wouldn’t you be entitled to hold those accountable that put your child and your family through it?” Falconer said.

“It’s just another example of how somehow First Nations are not supposed to be entitled to accountability and others are.”

First Nation leaders had called for an investigation into the issue shortly after the haircutting incident happened, including Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse, who said First Nations want to understand why and how the incident happened and ensure it never happens again.

“For First Nations, this is a painful and harsh reminder of what our children suffered in the residential schools, where braids were cut as part of the overall denigration of our people and culture,” Toulouse said...
M'kay. By the way, the teacher's aide--who was suspended following the snip snip (as well she should have been; she had no right to take it upon herself to trim a student's hair)--seems to have cut only the kid's bangs. And it sounds like she did so not as part of any overall denigration of aboriginal culture, but because the poor kid couldn't flipping see.

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