News / Toronto

Markham principal who apologized for anti-Muslim posts now on leave

Newsletter sent to parents says Ghada Sadaka on medical leave until new year.

Ghada Sadaka, a principal in the York Region District School Board, recently apologized for anti-Muslim posts on her Facebook Page. She is now on leave until January, according to a newsletter send home to parents of students at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Public School in Markham.

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Ghada Sadaka, a principal in the York Region District School Board, recently apologized for anti-Muslim posts on her Facebook Page. She is now on leave until January, according to a newsletter send home to parents of students at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Public School in Markham.

A Markham elementary school principal who apologized for posting “discriminatory” anti-Muslim posts on her Facebook page is taking a leave until the new year.

In the monthly newsletter sent home to parents of Sir Wilfrid Laurier Public School, Ghada Sadaka told parents she would be away until January.

“On the advice of my doctor, due to a pre-existing medical condition, I will be away temporarily until after the new year,” she wrote, in the December newsletter, sent home with students last week. She said her role would be temporarily filled by someone else until the winter holidays.

A spokesman for the York Region District School board confirmed Sadaka’s leave had started and that her “return is anticipated in the New Year.”

Sadaka, a new principal at Sir Wilfrid Laurier, has been the centre of controversy since the first day of the school year, after the YRDSB said it was investigating questionable posts on her Facebook page that had been brought to their attention.

In October, the board refused to tell parents the outcome or status of the investigation, only saying it was a personnel issue and that all their policies had been followed. But earlier this month, Sadaka apologized for her “discriminatory” posts, and pledged to “improve” her “understanding of human rights issues” and social media use.

Days later, Cecil Roach, the superintendent for equity for the York board, confirmed in a letter that he had been excluded from the investigation into Sadaka, even though it fell under his portfolio — casting doubt on the extent of the board’s investigation. In a letter sent to the board last week, the Minister of Education, Mitzie Hunter, asked the YRDSB for specifics regarding the investigation into Sadaka, citing concerns from parents that the board’s own policies were not followed.

“I am requesting that you articulate what your process is for such investigations and how you ensure that processes are followed,” Hunter wrote in a Nov. 22 letter. “The community has voiced particular concern around the transparency of this process … what will you do to appropriately respond to this community and the public?”

It’s unclear if Sadaka will be back before the Jan. 13 deadline the ministry has given the board to respond to questions around the investigation, alleged racism in the board, and trustee transparency.

But some parents say they are hoping Sadaka will return sooner than later.

“We all wish her a quick and speedy recovery,” said Mymi Huynh, the school council chair, who contacted Torstar News Service to show her support for the principal.

“We will miss her energy, affection and care for all students. We look forward to her return,” she said

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