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2012-02-14 at 11:54

Infamous haircut that led to human rights complaint settled

By Jamie Smith,
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A settlement has been reached in a haircutting incident that grabbed national headlines nearly three years ago.

An education assistant cut the hair of a First Nations boy at McKellar Park School in April 2009. A police investigation and Crown attorney ruled that no criminal charged would be laid.

That decision led to members of the Lakehead Public School Board, Thunder Bay Police Services, and the Ministry of the Attorney General being named in a human rights case with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

Julian Falconer, a lawyer who represented the boy’s family, said the matter has been settled but the terms of the settlement are confidential.

“The matter has been settled to the satisfaction of all parties,” Falconer said Tuesday morning.

In 2010, Falconer had said the family viewed the incident as an assault and that the police and Crown’s handling of the case showed" callous disrespect” of First Nations people.

Lakehead Public Schools spokesman Bruce Nugent echoed Falconer's statement, saying there was little more he could say because of confidentiality rules.


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Me n My Opinion says:
It would be interesting to know the actual facts of this case.
2/14/2012 12:25:41 PM
Advocate says:
This was a silly situation. People made it out like the person who cut the hair did it to deliberately destroy the heritage of someone. It is amazing how people beg to be given a second chance, but when someone else makes a mistake out of ignorance, they are not willing to afford her the same rights.
2/14/2012 12:42:24 PM
thunderbaycouncel says:
2.2 million.
2/14/2012 1:15:43 PM
spooner19 says:
thunderbaycouncel says:

2.2 million.

Now that sounds more like a assault on common humanity!
2/14/2012 1:52:21 PM
jimmyboy says:
any settlement amount is way too should never have gotten as far as it did.!
2/14/2012 2:22:00 PM
issy says:
2.2 Million for a bad hair cut.Sign me up!!!!!!!!!!!

2/14/2012 2:26:47 PM
metisman says:
@thunderbaycounsel....ya right... $2.2 million...thanks for grabbing that figure out of the air...lucky if it was anywhere even close to $10, stating something like that you are perpetuating an issue that is already racially sensitive....if this student was sikh and the assistant cut that students hair, there would be the same please dont make this about the childs culture as it should be looked at from the perspective of being wrong and nothing else...
2/14/2012 2:33:15 PM
noront says:
all he said is "2.2 Million" Nothing about race, culture, or anything else. You brought up the race issue.
2/15/2012 7:32:25 AM
Steven says:
Only in Canada could a simple mistake, that yes was pretty stupid, lead to 2.2. million .
2/14/2012 2:46:37 PM
dozerman says:
Quite the haircut!!!!
2/14/2012 3:36:26 PM
Editor@tbnewswatch says:
The settlement was confidential and no details about it have been made public. All users referring to details surrounding the settlement are commenting on speculation and rumour, and some appear to be blind guesses.
2/14/2012 4:09:12 PM
Dontlistentome says:
If you are correct, and I assume you are, why not delete these comments as per the guidelines of the site. Regardless of your assertion, you, Editor@ are only perpetuating lies, rumors and speculation. It is so common here that I have wondered if Dougall has been bought out by TMZ or the National Enquirer.

Half the time you seem to do no investigative reporting, but rather simply regurgitate whatever drivel some bozo feeds a reporter on the street - lacking actual facts and verification of those you do print. The other half time, is feel-good fluff stories that fill the gaps in actual news.

It's irresponsible and unprofessional - lacking journalistic integrity.
2/14/2012 6:43:11 PM
george2000 says:
Well said and these guys are far superior to that daily thing that sometimes imitates a newspaper.

ON CTV.CA right now is a story about a Toronto police officer suspended because he came to work drunk. The Police Board is on top of this and pushed for the investigation. Imagine, a police board taking an active role into what goes on inside the hollowed walls of a police department.

Think the media in our city would ever investigate drinking issues if they existed in our police department. I have heard the rumours about that place. I can't imagine that our media has not heard of them. But in Thunder Bay, our media takes the garbage that keeps getting pumped out and it runs like it is the truth. No questions that are obvious to all of us/

This town is in desperate need of a better trained media group.
2/14/2012 11:59:25 PM
tsb says:
Then why did you approve them as comments? What benefit do readers have by being subjected to this kind of feedback?
2/14/2012 7:25:27 PM
passlake says:
I can appreciate the terms of confidentiality..

however, this is public money we're dealing with, isn't it?? If 2.2 million IS the amount (and it's likely not), we as taxpayers have some right to know, don't we?

"callous disrespect"? I completely disagree. Calling "racism" just for the sake of calling it is a lot more disrespectful than helping a child see what they're trying to learn.

Respect is a two way street..
2/14/2012 4:24:34 PM
lucky7lady says:
this settlement is so wrong, I do not believe all of the facts were brought out or believed. I can tell you I was there when it happened, and I was never asked to testify even though I had to give a report. This had nothing and I mean absolutely nothing to do with race, it was a mistake that just happened to have been done on a young aboriginal boy, if the any other boy in that school had the same situation the outcome would have been the same.
This should never have been about an aboriginal boy it should have just simply been about a boy that just happened to be native.
2/14/2012 5:15:51 PM
metisman says:
Yes its callous disrespect when referring to the treatment of this child and has nothing to do with race.....until someone equates this to another "native" getting government money...then its racism....
If you look at the nature of the comments and the number of comments on this site when news stories have any topics referring to "natives" or "aboriginals", there are a lot of people that respond and most have racial under tones.
2/14/2012 5:27:24 PM
Dontlistentome says:
That's painfully true isn't it? Especially when it is a real, obvious, prevalent, two way street. Commentors aside, because to be fair there are not many that seem to slant toward being First Nations, but let's focus on the recent releases of NANs Mr.Beardy and others, as well as Atawapiskat's very own Chief Spence - with the negative separatives and societal compartmentalism. It drives the cultural bias from both ends.
2/14/2012 8:08:25 PM
advocate says:
No one did equate it with a "native" getting money. You were the first one to make that comment.

People think that if someone got $2.2 million over this (and there is no proof that they did, so until I hear proof, I will not believe it) is wrong. No matter what the race is.

Racism is something real and serious. It is not something to be taken lightly and thrown around as a false accusation.
2/14/2012 8:20:11 PM
moondew says:
I'm sorry, but let us take what people think that the settlement value may be, as well as the nationality of the child, out of the equation for a moment. That teacher had no business putting her hands on the child, and especially in a way to alter their appearance. Although I understand what they may have thought that they were accomplishing by giving the haircut. I think that there were other non permanent ways of getting this done. Has anyone seen a teacher without a rubberband in their desk? I believe the issue was that the teacher felt that the child's hair was in their face, obstructing their vision. If anyone teacher or otherwise, ever altered anything with my child I would go ballistic. Let's stop picking this apart. It was an extremely bad judgement call on the teacher's part. Why does it have to be seen as more?
2/14/2012 6:41:09 PM
LakeJump says:
It was not a teacher. It was an educational assistant. Big 4 years of university versus and 2 year college program.
2/14/2012 9:14:41 PM
tsb says:
Who care's about race. A teacher cut the hair of a child against that child's will. That's assault. Against a child. In a school.
2/14/2012 7:26:48 PM
Random says:
Nothing an apology shouldn't have been able to fix. By stating the settlement is confidential and all parties are satisfied, good chance it was a cash payout.
Ahh.....the human rights tribunal! Nothing cash can't fix, right?
That is all that tribunal is good for, ordering cash be paid, nothing else.
There was a time an apology would suffice, but now, when some right is violated to the point of it being unforgivable, PRESTO!!! MONEY and suddenly the offended is okay.
What a joke.
2/14/2012 8:21:33 PM
moi says:
It IS a joke...time was, an apology would suffice,but now?.. just wave a dollar sign in front of some people and suddenly a simple misunderstanding somehow becomes an "instant payday" for certain segments of our society.Much easier than winning the lottery,no? Doesn't matter the monetary amount..I'm sure the "victims" will feel so much better with the cash in their bank accout. "Green takes the sting out of seeing red". Enough said about this frivalous (sp?) lawsuit...Julian Falconer and the family outta be ashamed of themselves for dragging such a non-issue this far.
2/15/2012 5:53:21 PM
yer joking says:
For the family it's pride and rights! For the Lawyer well that's a whole different story now isn't it. Doesn't this dude have a couple of other cases on the go relating to natives? and I don't believe it was natives that started these cases, it ws the "Lawyer" just protecting the peoples rights etc.
2/14/2012 9:05:39 PM
Sui Generis says:
Race completely aside, this EA picked up a small child, placed him on a chair, put a pair of scissors to his face and said 'hold still'.

That's assault. Plain and simple.
2/14/2012 10:52:27 PM
Optimus Pine says:
You must know something about this case that no one else knows. No one said they picked up they boy and forcibly cut his hair. The child could have gone willingly.
However, because minors do not have the legal ability to give consent (hence permission slips) his parents had a bird when he came home. Poor judgement call on behalf of the EA, but there was no criminal intent.
Bringing up the "First Nations heritage" bit was a bit much.
2/15/2012 8:35:15 AM
Sui Generis says:
Erm, no. I know the information that was publicly released prior to this article. The details concerning the case were public knowledge, as was the fact that it was done forcibly, not willingly. Hence, the whole idea of the parents claiming it was assault.
2/15/2012 11:40:38 AM
Optimus Pine says:
If you are talking about the CBC links you have posted later, it says nothing about force. What you have is an angry mom and a lawyer trying to earn a paycheque and spouting off.
Hair cut-yes, Criminal intent-no

2/15/2012 1:30:03 PM
peas08 says:
Although her actions were obviously wrong so is taking money for it. Money doesn't help the hair grow back so why the settlement? I don't care if it was 200 dollars, it makes no matter. The fact they want money for it is pathetic. Get over it.
2/14/2012 11:22:44 PM
unravelled says:
Time heals all wounds or in this case grows back lost hair
2/15/2012 8:36:35 AM
lucky7lady says:
The young man was not a small child, he was not placed on a chair and told to sit still. He could not see with the hair in his face, agreed to have it TRIMMED and left quite happy. I am not condoning the action of the assistant teacher, but all it was was a bad judgement in error. It should have ended with the apology the family received.
2/15/2012 1:16:19 AM
Sui Generis says:
The young man was in grade 1. He was placed on a chair and told to hold still. And it WAS against his will. These facts were all made readily public.

2/15/2012 11:44:24 AM
JustAcomment says:
I thought you said you were there?? You don't condone this behavior but yet you didn't stop it! This teacher's aide also teased him about the length of his hair weeks before this incident in front of other classmates. Children will conform to authority, he was 7yrs old, what is he going to do say no to the teacher?? I don't think my 7yr old would defy a teacher. She is in a position of authority and breached that trust that is the issue.
2/15/2012 5:51:14 PM
moondew says:
@LakeJump: I think you missed the point of my comment. I don't care whether it was a teacher or educational assistant. This person was entrusted with the children in this school. Their education does not change their ability to know right and wrong. And as I had mentioned, I don't care who it was, they have no business putting their hands on a child, for whatever reason. Clear enough?
2/15/2012 8:56:33 AM
shake'n'myhead says:
It was a case of assault. The hair will grow back. Any monetary ruling should only be awarded to pay any legal fees.
What this site needs is more idiots like thunderbaycouncel who don't have anything worthwhile to input so they throw out stupid numbers.
Any cash award should contain a contract. The amount paid will be forfeited if the receiving party shares the information with anyone. That is the business of the parties involved, not the worlds.
2/15/2012 9:17:28 AM
HelenaHandbasket says:
I think a lot of people are forgetting the facts here. The child complained that he was having a hard time seeing because his bangs were to long and the teachers assistant trimmed them, there was no malicious intent against the child or his heritage. The child didnt protest at all about it! I am not saying what the TA did was right so dont start saying Im agreeing with what she did. There was no abuse, racism or spite, it was a bad judgement call. This situation was unfortunate and blown completely out of proportion.
2/15/2012 10:09:48 AM
educator says:
Let's reverse the roles. If an aboriginal teacher's assistant cut a non-aboriginal students bangs would we even be discussing this? Would we even be aware the bangs were cut?

There was no malice here. A person who is trusted with helping children learn made a decision she believed would assist the child to learn.

This had nothing to do with the persons skin color and to take this to the Human Rights Tribunal was wrong.

We face enough challenges in the classroom without having to worry about nonsense like this. The child was not harmed.

I'm going to go as far as to suggest more harm was done to this child by dragging him through the system in pursuit of "justice."
2/15/2012 11:41:22 AM
userfriendly says:
Have you not heard of the residential school system? These students were stripped of their cultural identity, were abused, separated from their families and many killed. One of the first things they would do is cut their hair off to physically strip them of their cultural heritage.
As an "educator" in Thunder Bay, paid for by taxpayers to teach children, you should educate yourself on the true aboriginal history of Canada. Seriously.
What if the parents of this child were residential school survivors? How would they feel? Do you even care? You don't even get it!
2/16/2012 6:45:16 PM
TWM says:
You people who think this act was nothing are the very reasons why our rights are being eroded away by government. The "who cares" attitude or no-one got hurt does nothing to address the rights of an individual. I am glad an expensive lesson was learned here, though obviously many people still haven't had that sink in yet. Quite the crowd here at TBNewswatch.. often I cruise the various news sites but I come here for the laughs and ignorance one can find in society.
2/15/2012 12:26:01 PM
moi says:
And we tax payers wonder why our courts are so backed-up...this lawsuit is a perfect example of why. His hair,I'm sure has grown back by now.IMO,just another money-grab...funny how the colour green manages to make everything "all better". CHA-CHING!
2/15/2012 12:28:15 PM
jwo2854 says:
Geez, back in my day, the "christian" nuns
would strap you for "talking" in class.
I remember sitting for an hour or so with
red and swollen hands. I bet that would be worth
a few bucks in today's day and age.
Glad things have changed.
2/15/2012 2:11:27 PM
tiredofit says:
Why is it everyone assumes there was a financial settlement, we don't know that, nor will we ever, it could have been a simple apology or perhaps a written letter etc..
Everyone jumps on the bandwagon assuming. Someone pulls a number of 2.2 million out of the air and all of a sudden everyone is complaining about the amount. It was settled, plain and simple, we will never know the details.

I suggest you all let it go. shheeh

You know what they say about ASSUME
2/15/2012 4:13:41 PM
homelessteen says:
I commend the parents for taking legal action against the parties involved.
If it was my kid I can't say I would have been as reasonable.
I have had some teachers who have been a positive influence and some who should never have been allowed to join the profession. Unfortunately the ladder has been the majority.
2/15/2012 4:24:41 PM
Random says:
Wow...the majority of your teachers shouldn't have been teaching. What school did you go to? Or was it a case of a teacher not putting up with some of the B.S kids today throw their way.
When I was a kid, you got the strap if you acted up, and we all grew up fine. Now? You could not pay me enough to be a teacher, not with the way parents and kids are today.
Legal action for a haircut, done with good intentions. You seriously don't think an APOLOGY couldn't have fixed it? Would it really have to go to a criminal charge? That mentality is part of whats wrong with this country today.
2/15/2012 5:50:23 PM
homelessteen says:
What's up with not posting my first response tbnewswatch?
I clearly outlined my my position on this issue for you Random and why legal action was the best option, however; it somehow did not conform to the guidelines. I guess I offended the status quo.
2/16/2012 9:08:03 AM
JustAcomment says:
I'm sorry but putting a 7yr old boy on a chair and cutting his hair then making him stand in front of a mirror and say 'look at you now' is so wrong. First of all this boy was growing his hair for a pow wow in the summer, by her ignorance of this fact and making him look in the mirror and imply that he looks better this way than the way of his traditional people must have been very confusing for this child. He also went home and when his mom asked him what happened he started crying!! He was 7 years old, yes hair grows back..but trust takes a long time and for this child I think there are some psychological impacts because of this. If this was my child and no one wanted to take this seriously I would go to whoever listened and that's what they did. A shot in the pocket book hurts a lot more than oh I'm sorry and being suspended with pay. If this is a multi-racial school then maybe the educators should have cultural knowledge and stop claiming ignorance..that's getting old..
2/15/2012 5:30:01 PM
educator says:
So what you are saying is rather preparing the curriculum I should be spending my time doing research on the ancestry and cultural sensitivities of the students in my class.

What you are trying to do is make this into a political issue to support your special interest group. I for one, will not change the way I run my classroom based on an isolated incident.
2/15/2012 11:53:37 PM
homelessteen says:
It is not your classroom it is the children's paid for by their parents.
Don't like what it takes to be an effective educator? Get a new job.
2/16/2012 10:50:37 AM
JustAcomment says:
There is no hidden agenda behind my comment. I am not making this into a political issue. I find it quite disturbing that you call yourself an educator while acting so defiant when a suggestion of taking some time to understand another persons culture is brought forth to you. I also would think that being an educator you would recognize that teachers do not have the right to put their hands on any child, no matter what skin color. I am simply stating the reason he was growing out his hair and why that was significant to this boy. As a parent I think what she did is very wrong and I am a little disappointed at the lack of support this family has gotten.
2/16/2012 10:53:35 AM
Random says:
You could read the criminal code, the part that protects a teacher when corrective force is required. I put a link up for you.

I'm not remotely suggesting this was an issue of corrective force, just addressing your comment that lacked knowledge, aka ignorant, when referring to your statement "I also would think that being an educator you would recognize that teachers do not have the right to put their hands on any child, no matter what skin color".
Lastly, why would that statement reference skin colour? Again, making it ut to be a
racially motivated incident in my opinion. A lack of cultural awareness works both ways, one can take the time to learn more, one can take the time to teach more.
2/17/2012 5:36:16 AM
JustAcomment says:
Well if corrective force was an issue then your link to the criminal code would be appropriate but that is not the issue and has nothing to do with the issue which might show your lack of knowledge. The teacher has to show they are justified in using corrective force in order for this law to apply and clearly that is not what happened here. Here is a link that provides information on how this teacher's aid violated the code of conduct for teachers under the Education Act of Ontario I included no matter what skin color because it doesn't matter...that was the point. "A lack of cultural awareness works both ways" I'm sorry which culture am I supposed to be sensitive to?
2/18/2012 1:49:53 PM
Random says:
Ok, to clarify:
1.I only posted that link because you referenced the bit about no teacher can touch a child etc. I didn't say you implied force was used or anything.
2.Criminal code supercedes the Education act of Ontario. Code of conduct etc is for when you plan to sue the a$$ off of someone.
3. Cultural awareness working both ways. What I ment was if a teacher is to be expected to learn about other cultures and what is ok/not ok etc, then the "culture" can also take the time to educate the teacher/school board, meaning, take the time to come into the school and explain things about long hair/short hair, or what have you. It would be tough for anyone to understand the part about long hair when lots of aboriginal kids have brush cut hair as well.
Again, what the assistant did was wrong. Does it warrant criminal charges or a cash settlement? NO.
2/20/2012 1:54:42 PM
Optimus Pine says:
You know what's getting old JustAcomment? The race card. The "money will make everything better" card.
2/16/2012 10:36:45 AM
JustAcomment says:
might not make everything better but it sure gets the point across...
2/16/2012 8:28:23 PM
AngryBird says:
If that teacher cut my kids hair I would have asked her how much I owed her for the haircut! I remeber a time whe parents took a great pride in sending thier kids to school and making sure they were clean cut and well groomed.

Sad to see so much racial profiling in our communitiy. It is destroying the fibers that hold people together. If society continues down "they wronged me racially path". "Our future generations" will suffer and be isolated from each other. There will be severe clashes amongst different races, religeons and beliefs, and this great country will deteriorate to the levels of developing nations that suffer civil unrest!!!
2/16/2012 12:38:48 AM
ThunderBayFullOfCrime says:
Plain and simple, this is the stupidest story on here. Isn't there more important things to worry about in this town. NO CASH SETTLEMENT SHOULD HAVE COME FROM THIS, if anything the teachers aid should have been suspended. That's it.
2/16/2012 1:56:17 AM
tired says:
This was a money grab, pure and simple, everyone posting here should ask themselves, what would they do if their child had an EA cut their hair because they couldn't see. I know what my response would have been...thanks.
2/16/2012 8:56:56 PM
youngAdult says:
The comments regarding this issue are so ignorent and rude it is awful. Therefore, I feel the need to educate those who regard this issue as a (money grab, a "joke", or a silly situation). Some Aboriginal peoples consider long, uncut hair, worn by men and women, to be sacred. Generally, hair is braided, and among some men, three braided strands signify the body, mind, and spirit. Braids or uncut hair generally signify that the style worn is of spiritual and cultural importance to the individual & reinforces his or her sense of belonging to a particular First Nation. So to many First Nations People the cutting of ones hair has symbolic meaning in their culture. I suggest those who always assume such as the family receiving 2.2 million and other issues is to educate yourself regarding the issue & perhaps put yourself in that situation with those particular believes and how you would feel it that happened to you/child.
"The greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds."
2/18/2012 2:00:53 PM
Random says:
I think EVERYONE here gets that now. But again, cutting the hair, whether sacred or not, whether Aboriginal, German, East Indian or whatever, doesn't cause death or bodily harm, and can be fixed with AN APOLOGY! Why is that so tough to digest, or get? Why does cutting HAIR, warrant a criminal charge, or even WORSE, a cash payout????
Please explain to me why it would be better, what the difference would suddenly be?
The only rude part of this whole story is the fact money might have been paid as a bandaid to fix something, apparently so horrible it warrants criminal charges according to so many.
2/20/2012 5:48:08 PM
dad3192 says:
So being of Scottish heritage, I could paint my son's face blue and send him to school just like William Wallace. Whent his teacher makes him wash it off, I'm going to sue for a violation of his human rights!!
You're right...that is really stupid....this whole thing is really stupid!
It was a msitake made by a TA...nothing more and that is the way it should have been treated...
2/19/2012 9:16:37 AM
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