York Region trustee at centre of racism controversy on indefinite medical leave
Nancy Elgie's son said his mother suffered a concussion, which may have caused her to misspeak
York Region District School Board trustee Nancy Elgie, who has faced a barrage of controversy after using a racial slur to refer to a black parent in November, is taking an indefinite medical leave, her son Stewart Elgie told CBC Toronto Monday.
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Stewart explained Elgie suffered a concussion after she fell on a cement patio and cracked her head open at her Georgina, Ont. home on Oct. 19.
"Luckily there was a worker there to call an ambulance or she might have bled to death," Stewart said about his 82-year-old mother's injury. "She had twenty staples in her skull to close the wound."
Concussion symptoms exacerbated by age: son
Stewart, who teaches environmental law at the University of Ottawa, said he urged Elgie to see a doctor after the incident, but she resisted.
"Like many head injury victims, she didn't believe she had a problem initially, but she has seen a head injury specialist who has confirmed she had a concussion and is having the classic symptoms, exacerbated by her age," he said.
Elgie has since missed several board meetings attended by parents asking for her resignation. She did submit a letter to the board explaining her actions. She also wrote a letter of apology to Charline Grant, the mother of three who alleges Elgie called her the N-word.
- York Region school board trustee apologizes after using racial slur
"On doctor's orders, she's now taking time off to heal and that's why she can't speak publicly in her own defence right now," Stewart said.
'She doesn't have a racist bone in her body'
Stewart said family and friends noticed Elgie had problems with short-term memory, adding numbers, and was mixing up her words soon after the concussion. He guesses those symptoms led to her misspeak.
"Anyone who knows my mother will tell you she doesn't have a racist bone in her body," he said. "Her whole life, there was zero tolerance for any kind of racism in her household."
Stewart is unsure how long Elgie will be on leave, but said she plans on continuing as a trustee when she heals.
He said returning to work will mean "restoring and healing the harm her accidental words caused."
While on medical leave, Elgie is donating her salary to children's charity in her region, Stewart said.
With files from Muriel Draaisma