Natasha Burge, 19, is a Windsor high school student that was suspended from schools because she said some racist comments on her Facebook account. Apparently Burge was upset that schools promote Christmas as much and students no longer sing the national anthem.
“Please feel free to go back to your own (expletive) country,” said Burge on her Facebook account when referring to students that are offended by schools that celebrate Christmas.
Burge said that someone should dress up as Santa “screaming merry christmas to the arabs, pakis, towel heads and whatever other race that doesnt like it.”
The vice principal of the school had called her in this past Wednesday and suspended her until Monday after showing her a print-out of the comments. She was not given any other explanation. She returned on Thursday to discuss the matter, but she was told to leave or face further discipline.
“It’s ridiculous I get suspended over something I believe in – we should be allowed to say, ‘Merry Christmas,'” stated Burge. She is currently enrolled in fifth year Grade 12 courses.
“If you don’t like it, delete it off your wall or unfriend me,” stated Burge in an interview. Public school board spokesman Scott Scantlebury said that inappropriate Facebook posts that negatively affect the “moral tone of a school” can be dealt with suspension under the Ontario Safe Schools Act.
Kennedy Collegiate, the school that Burge attends, is a multicultural school with students from 52 different cultural backgrounds.
“Given that so many of our students are of Christian faith, we can’t negate the fact (that Christmas) is a major religious occasion,” stated Greater Essex County District School Board diversity officer Rachel Olivero. “When it comes to free speech, people are entitled to their opinions – until it reaches a point of intolerance.”
“When somebody says, ‘Go back to your own country’ … that incites hatred,” pointed out Olivero. “Tolerance is the important thing.”
“In 2011, can we celebrate Christmas in our schools? Absolutely – say Merry Christmas!” Olivero added. “At the same time, don’t be offended if someone comes up to you at another time of year and says, ‘Eid Mubarak’ or ‘Happy Diwali.'”
Burge said she doesn’t personally agree with the suggestion that people should be sent back to their own countries, but she believes that new Canadians should accept that Christmas and the national anthem are important traditions.
“Everybody knows I’m not racist. I have a lot of friends who are Arabic, Pakistani, blacks,” stated Burge.