Toronto police say detectives found no evidence to support criminal charges after it was alleged a six-year-old Black student was forcibly locked in a room at a local elementary school.
Police say it was alleged a child at John Fisher Junior Public School was confined to a closet-sized administrator’s office and hateful messages were written on a desk.
They say officers interviewed “dozens of people,” including the child, their family, teachers and former students as part of the investigation.
Detectives also consulted with experts on child-focused investigations and their results were reviewed by the force’s hate crime unit and the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General’s hate crime working group.
Police say while they understand the allegations are “upsetting,” the investigation “found no evidence to support the laying of charges.”
The Toronto District School Board says it had started an internal probe into the allegations but that had to be paused about two weeks ago at the request of the Children’s Aid Society, which said it was investigating.
The TDSB says it has to inform Toronto police and the Children’s Aid Society when serious allegations are brought to its attention and receive their permission to proceed with an internal board investigation.
In March, the board had said it had learned about “reports of serious acts of anti-Black racism at John Fisher” and the school principal, vice-principal and a teacher had been put on home assignment amid an investigation.
The Parents of Black Children advocacy group had said it received reports from two parents of Black students at the school alleging the children were detained in a small “isolation room” in separate occasions.
The Ontario Principals Council said shortly afterward that it was confident evidence would show a Black student was never placed or locked in a small room at the school, as alleged.