Board meeting postponed for community vigil

Posted On Tuesday June 08, 2021

Tonight’s regular meeting of the Thames Valley District School Board has been postponed to provide the community an opportunity to grieve together over the tragic passing of an Oakridge Secondary School student in a hate-motivated car attack Sunday night. 

Yumnah Afzaal was one of four members of a Muslim family, representing three generations, who lost their lives in the attack that also left her nine-year-old brother with injuries in hospital. 

Education Director Mark Fisher, Board Chair Lori-Ann Pizzolato, along with Thames Valley staff and Trustees, will attend a special vigil tonight at 7 p.m. organized by the Muslim community at the London Mosque, 151 Oxford Street.

“More than ever, we need to show our support and respect for the Muslim community and stand together against acts of violence and hate,” said Education Director Mark Fisher. “Our hearts are with the family and the community during this difficult time.”

Flags at all Thames Valley schools have been lowered to half-mast to honour the memory of Yumnah and her family.

Chair Pizzolato said it was important to postpone tonight’s meeting to provide Trustees and school board employees an opportunity to pause, reflect and show support with the Muslim community at this difficult time.

“Words cannot describe the depth of our grief,” added Chair Pizzolato. “It is important this evening that we grieve as a community, that we promise as a community to do everything we can to fight Islamophobia and hate in all forms. This starts in our homes as parents and continues in classrooms.”

The Board’s Traumatic Events Response Team was available today to support students, staff and families at Oakridge Secondary School and other impacted schools and will remain in place for as long as it is required. Thames Valley has also extended supports to the London Islamic School.