"We fully intend to learn from this situation."
This article contains graphic content that might not be suitable for some readers.
Saint-Hubert father George Stetka took to Facebook on February 2 to denounce imagery in his daughter's grade seven schoolwork that he called racist. A photo of a page from a student workbook shows two caricatures of dark-skinned individuals. The figures are labelled "gangsters." One holds a gun.
The workbook prompts students to describe the two individuals.
Stetka wrote in his February 2 post that he discovered the imagery after picking his 13-year-old daughter up from Centennial Regional High School. He said his daughter told him her French class had covered the topic of "criminals."
In a statement shared with MTL Blog, Quebec's Ministry of Education said it takes the matter "seriously."
It explained that while the government approves student manuals, teaching guides and reference works, such as dictionaries, schools and teachers are responsible for choosing "complementary materials" like workbooks, which the government does not review or approve.
On Thursday, Centennial Regional High School Principal Sherry Tite sent a letter to parents apologizing for the imagery. Stetka shared the letter with MTL Blog.
"Admittedly, these images are inappropriate and unfortunately, not the message customarily promoted at Centennial," Tite wrote.
"We regret that this inappropriate material has been utilized and we want our community to know that, as a school, we fully intend to learn from this situation."
Stetka said the teacher who distributed the workbook also apologized to students in class and parents via email. The teacher said the page had been destroyed.