A Canadian police board has been mandated by the Ontario’s Human Rights Tribunal to pay $35,000 in damages after officers handcuffed a young Black girl at her school in 2016.

Two officers with the Peel Regional Police responded to an emergency call at the Peele District’s elementary school regarding a child on Sept. 30, 2016, according to local news station CP24. The school had previously requested police assistance with the girl on three other occasions that month.

Once officers arrived at the school that day, they engaged the student and detained her for nearly half an hour with a “shocking” and “ punitive" maneuver, according to Brenda Bowlby, the tribunal arbiter.

“In handcuffing the applicant’s hands behind her back and holding her on her stomach with her ankles handcuffed for at least 28 minutes, the officers violated the applicant’s rights under Sec. 1 of the Human Rights Code to equal treatment in the provision of services by treating her in a way they would not have treated a white child,” Bowlby wrote in her Dec. 31 decision.

A year following the incident, the child and her mother filed an application with the Human Rights Tribunal and were represented by Human Rights Legal Support Centre, an organization that provides pro bono legal assistance to Ontario residents who have experienced discrimination per the province’s Human Rights Code. The application alleged that the girl was treated with discrimination by the police with respect to services on the basis of race, which goes against guidelines addressed in the Human Rights Code.

Both the mother and the young student have had their identities protected under a publication restriction, according to CP24.

“The applicant was frightened by the manner in which she was treated by the officers during the incident,” Bowlby said. “I find that this incident has caused the applicant to view the police as a source of punishment and that she is now apprehensive of police officers.”

The tribunal adjudicator remarked that it was alarming that a child so young would be subjected to racism in an encounter that could traumatize her for life. She said that the child grew to be wary of the police, subjected to teasing, and suffered a great deal of humiliation as a result of the incident.

“This is very concerning since all children should be able to have confidence that police are there to protect them, not punish them," Bowlby said.

Unfortunately, the issue of over-policing Black girls is not a problem unique to Canada. As Blavity previously reported, a New York Times analysis found that Black girls were seven times more likely to serve multiple out-of-school suspensions than white girls and three times more likely to receive intervention from law enforcement.

Originally, the girl and her mother were seeking financial compensation for injury to dignity and feelings in the amount of $150,000, and nearly $20,000 for two years of psychological and mental health therapy.

Ultimately, the student was awarded monetary compensation of $30,000 and an additional $5,000 to cover the costs of mental health counseling.

As an additional outcome of the case, the police agency voluntarily agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. According to CP24, the police service will incorporate significant changes in how Peel police officers interact with children under 12 years of age. The police board will also work within the guidelines of the MOU to implement legally binding solutions to correct systemic racism.

The mother of the student, identified by the initials J.B., asked the tribunal to extend the measures to include things like an updated and required officer training. She said she hopes the MOU “isn’t just smartly worded and celebrated while police officers continue to have harmful interactions with Black bodies on the ground” with little consequences.