The Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB) has issued a statement in response to one of its teachers being caught on tape berating Muslim students for skipping an LGBTQ pride day – saying the incident “is being addressed internally.”

In the audio recording from June exclusively obtained by True North, a Northwood Public School teacher tells her class that the Muslim students abstaining from pride was “an incredible show of hatred [that] was incredibly disgusting to have witnessed.”

“I do not want to be a part of this school,” adds the teacher.

The tirade came amid reports of a very high absence rate at the school on its pride day. According to Life Site News, approximately 600 out of the school’s 800 students stayed home – a 75% absentee rate.

The teacher is also heard condemning the Muslim students for telling her they can’t change their religion to have it support LGBTQ lifestyles – and that they ought to challenge their parents’ beliefs.

In a statement to local outlet WindsorNewsToday, GECDSB spokesperson Madeline McEachern said the board “was made aware of this incident as soon as it occurred in early June 2023,” but that it “cannot comment on personnel matters relating to any staff member.” 

“Board and Northwood administration immediately addressed all staff, students, and community members who were affected to ensure their well-being at that time. The principal has spoken directly with the students involved and distributed the letter to the entire Northwood community.”

A source provided True North with the Jun. 20 apology letter sent to Northwood families by principal Dustin O’Neil. He said the teacher’s comments were inappropriate. 

“As stated in the letter, diversity and a sense of belonging enrich students’ learning experiences, and we are committed to ensuring that all students and families are represented positively in our schools,” said the spokesperson.

The board added that the incident “is being addressed internally.”

In the past two months, the GECDSB has been the subject of community criticism and protest over its LGBTQ policies.

As previously reported by True North, the school board allows children to change their gender or pronouns at school without the knowledge or consent of their parents. 

One GECDSB trustee supportive of the policy claimed in a CBC interview that only a “vocal minority” of parents oppose the gender identity policy. A Leger poll commissioned by however found that 56% of Ontarians believe parents should be notified if their child wants to change their gender or pronouns at school.

The school board also opted to temporarily ban parents and other members of the public from board of trustees meetings in June amid outrage over the policy.