The Toronto Catholic District School Board's decisions makers have confirmed that severe systemic barriers to student success exists. These barriers are specifically putting LGBTQ+ students, staff and their family’s wellbeing at risk for discrimination by continued silence on the outrageous debates that transpired last fall (which prompted this petition), on whether gender identity, gender expression, family status and marital status are worthy grounds upon which members of the TCDSB community cannot be treated unfairly.
A vote on including these terms happened at a public board meeting after months of heated debates, despite being directed to "promote a system-wide approach to identifying and removing discriminatory biases and systemic barriers" while developing inclusive education policies to support student achievement and well-being within our publicly funded schools, by the Ministry of Education, in 2013. As well as despite being informed that these terms are dimensions of diversity protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code, by the Chief Commissioner.
Even more alarming was that this vote was held by the Trustees, 1 for each of the 12 wards, making each vote count for a large percentage of the outcome. When it comes to a matter of Ministry compliance and Human Rights laws, the topic was beyond the trustees roles to have even been up for discussion.
For more history, some trustee's have demonstrated an agenda similar to known purveyors of misinformation, CLC/LifeSiteNews. A video of Trustee Del Grande was circulated stating that he turns to CLC's leadership "Jack and Steve to get some supporting words" during his acceptance speech, after being awarded by them for introducing his 12-page amendment listing acts such as bestiality, pedophilia, sadism, polygamy and vampirism; stating that these (mainly criminal) acts are equally as deserving of protection against discrimination as our youth and families that are included in the code, within the TCDSB community.
This is deeply concerning, as it is proven that an inclusive environment not only improves individual academics, but helps the entire community around them. Our schools need to help students develop into highly skilled, knowledgeable, and caring citizens who can contribute to both a strong economy and a cohesive society.
Research shows that the longer a child is bullied, harassed or discriminated against, the more likely they are to develop physical, emotional, and psychological scars that can last a lifetime; which is why we need to reject discriminatory behaviours and attitudes and urgently send a clear message to the TCDSB and their decision makers:
Now that these terms protecting our youth are included within the TCDSB Code of Conduct, please make the integration intentional and comprehensive to restore public confidence in Toronto's Catholic schools, and make it clear that any form of discrimination, be it anti-black/indigenous racism or anti-LGBTQ+ homo/transphobia, has no place in publicly funded education services!
Please see this petition requesting Human Rights opposing trustee's are censured.