Oh PEI . . .

Black-face video offends school teacher
Last Updated: Friday, March 9, 2007 | 10:31 AM AT
CBC News

A video featuring a white teacher in black face imitating the mannerisms of a co-worker was meant to be a joke when it was shown at a Charlottetown school staff meeting earlier this month, the school’s principal said.

‘It’s a minor incident gone awry.’— School principal Gilles Benoît

The humour backfired, and the black teacher told CBC News she was humiliated and shocked by the video. Marie Handy, who teaches at the French-language L’école François-Buote, said the video’s creators are educated and should know better.

The former president of the P.E.I. Multicultural Council, Jacob Mal, agrees.

“I am surprised and disgusted that the educated people are doing this,” said Mal.

“It shouldn’t be done and especially [by] those people who are dealing with young minds.”

School principal Gilles Benoît downplayed the incident.
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“It’s a minor incident gone awry,” he told CBC News, in an interview conducted in French.

“There’s a good team spirit here, all the staff get along well. We sometimes tease each other, but I guess we have to be more careful.”

Handy believes her colleagues did not intend to be malicious but has nonetheless asked for an apology, which Benoît said she got.

As far as he’s concerned, that’s the end of it.

Handy said she has received written apologies from two of the three teachers involved in making the video and plans to take the incident up with the union if the third isn’t forthcoming.