‘Enough is enough’: PDSB trustee, long time diversity advocate Kathy McDonald alleges board chair assaulted her
The Pointer Files

‘Enough is enough’: PDSB trustee, long time diversity advocate Kathy McDonald alleges board chair assaulted her

More unrest is unfolding at the Peel District School Board with recent allegations from a trustee who has been instrumental in pushing for reforms to address the systemic racism that has characterized the region’s largest education system for decades. 

Kathy McDonald alleges her colleague and fellow Trustee David Green, who is chair of the board, hit her during an event last year while she was attempting to take a photo of the venue. 

McDonald told The Pointer that while at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga on May 1, 2023, Green aggressively struck her arm causing sharp pain as her daughter was standing by. McDonald says she was taking a picture at the event, as were others in attendance, when Green approached her and told her no photos were allowed, then slapped her across the arm.  

McDonald said the alleged slap was hard enough that it caused a bruise that lasted for several days. “I was in so much pain for literally four days, like excruciating pain, and my doctor could not believe it.”

“It was about seven days until I was no longer in pain to the touch.”

In an email statement to The Pointer, Green wrote, “I am not at liberty to comment on these at the moment, as this may interfere with the investigation taking place at the moment. However, I will reach out when I am able.”

McDonald and Green have opposed each other over the past few years, following a provincial review that found the PDSB was guilty of fostering systemic discrimination and racism against Black students, leading to 27 directives the board is in the process of completing. McDonald and one former trustee were constantly opposed by Green and the rest of the trustees while the three-year struggle unfolded.

McDonald says some trustees in attendance at the event who have opposed her ongoing efforts to hold the board accountable witnessed the alleged altercation, claiming it was a gentle slap. 

McDonald told The Pointer Green is aware they have no relationship outside of work, and should not have touched her.

“It's not friendly banter at all,” she explained. “Any reasonable person would know that we do not have a very amicable relationship. We have a professional relationship. We just leave it there.”

McDonald is now seeking a peace bond through the court to protect herself. Green continues to fail to show up to the set court dates. According to the Ontario court system, a peace bond is a court order that requires another person to “keep the peace and be of good behaviour” and obey conditions that include not contacting the person involved, their family or coming near their property. 

McDonald again appeared in a Brampton Courthouse Monday to set a peace bond hearing date. According to the judge, Green was scheduled to appear in court but was absent when the matter was called. The judge issued a bench summons — a document that requires a person to attend a hearing before the court — for Green. The matter was adjourned to September 9.


PDSB Chair David Green, who allegedly assaulted Trustee Kathy McDonald in May 2023, says he cannot comment on the incident as the matter is before the court.

(The Pointer Files) 


Mismanagement and turmoil have tainted the already troubled culture inside the province’s second largest school board where deeply entrenched anti-Black racism and other forms of discrimination were confronted by community members who looked to McDonald for leadership. For decades, board officials and senior staff failed to address the systemic racism and harmful inaction that had plagued the PDSB. 

Under trustees’ roles and responsibilities, according to the PDSB’s website, they are responsible for ensuring “the board's purpose, governing principles, function and activities are being pursued in a responsible manner with the utmost integrity.” It was evident through reviews conducted by the Ministry of Education that this has not been the case. 

It wasn’t until two separate provincial probes revealed that the predominantly white educators and trustees who dealt with a student body that was 85 percent non-white, often jeopardized the educational, emotional and economic well-being of the students they oversaw. The Province intervened in 2020. It issued 27 directives aimed at dismantling systemic racism inside the organization while board leaders and most trustees tried to protect the status quo, defending the toxic culture that had been growing for decades.

When it was clear to the Ministry that the board and its trustees were incapable of eradicating the harm they caused to students, trustees were stripped of their governance role and the province appointed its own official to run the board, after firing the director of education at the time, Peter Joshua. 

When the Ministry presented its findings, many of the trustees responded with denial and obstruction. McDonald, who has supported Black communities fighting to hold the PDSB accountable for years, pushed forward. She was accompanied by former trustee Nokha Dakroub who had also stood up against anti-Black racism and other forms of systemic discrimination within the board.

When a follow-up review from the Province deemed the board’s trustees were not following the ministry directives, while continuing to harm the communities impacted most by the board’s ongoing refusal to take corrective action, the Province stripped trustees of their governing powers and the Ministry appointed Bruce Rodrigues to take over governance and carry out the steps needed to address the broken system. When a majority of the trustees — including the same ones who obstructed efforts to address systemic racism — signed a letter to the Province requesting the removal of Rodrigues from the position in an effort to regain control of the board, McDonald, along with Dakroub, were the lone trustees who called for the Province to remain directly involved with the day-to-day operations of the board. Balbir Sohi also did not sign the letter.

When the Province was first seeking mediation on the 27 ministerial directives in 2020, McDonald, who at the time said the board was trying to use the mere existence of the provincial review against concerned stakeholders, told The Pointer effecting change at the board is “like an out of control gang that is set on traumatizing and harming the Black community and they do it with impunity.”


In an attempt to regain control of the board months after the Province’s takeover, PDSB trustees signed a letter to the Province and Education Minister Stephen Lecce requesting the Ministry remove its hold on the board’s governance.

(Government of Ontario)


McDonald has been an outspoken advocate and has often been a lone voice of opposition against her trustee colleagues around the table at the PDSB. 

Now, the PDSB trustee says she feels isolated for not being afraid to speak her mind. 

“They mentally abuse me when it comes to process all because I refuse to bend when they are contravening processes,” she said. “When they're doing things that I think is illegal, like having illegal ‘in committee’ meetings. Things are discussed in committee that shouldn't be there.”

“When I speak out, and even advocating for Black children, for Brown children, for Indigenous children, that backlash is there, because they just see me as ‘Oh, I'm embarrassing the board,’ and I will not put up with that.” 

The Province loosened the reigns at the beginning of 2023 when it ended its 30-month supervision of the troubled board, something McDonald said was a positive move at the time, signalling it is time for elected officials to do their job. Now, with the supervision gone, McDonald fears the board again has the mindset that it can act with impunity.   

“I'm not going to be silenced, and they're trying to silence me,” she said, adding, “My fear is real, it's almost like they trivialize it.”

She says while some trustees will approach her off the record to show their support, no one is publicly speaking up for her or challenging Green and the others who continue to defend the toxic culture. 

“That's the climate that we're in, and I cannot and I will not allow him to do this. He thinks he can bully me and try and silence me and isolate me, well I'm isolated and I don't give a damn.”

McDonald says she has been attending board meetings virtually and actively avoiding the board office in fear of being around Green or having another encounter since the alleged slap. 

But McDonald is required to attend at least three consecutive meetings in person in order to maintain her seat, something she says she now has to do “under extreme stress and trauma.”

McDonald says some trustees seem to be singling her out, after her work to hold the board accountable.

“They have ganged up against me to isolate me to bully me and treat me unfairly.” For example, McDonald says during board meetings many of the trustees are able to speak openly without time constraints, whereas her remarks are often timed so she only has five minutes to speak.  

“I'm open season for all of them. I am not going to put up with it. I'm not. Enough is enough.”



Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @mcpaigepeacock

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