Haircutting incident heading to human rights tribunal
By Rick Garrick
“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.
“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.
Alvin Fiddler, a Nishnawbe Aski Nation deputy grand chief at the time, called for an explanation of the circumstances that led to the decision not to lay charges against the teacher’s assistant.
“What we have now is confusion as the Thunder Bay Police say the responsibility for charges rests with the Crown and the Ministry of the Attorney General saying the responsibility rests with the Thunder Bay Police,” Fiddler said.
“First they claimed it wasn’t in the public interest and now for the first time, without ever having consulted with the child’s parents, they say it’s ‘to avoid revictimizing the child.’”