Bye bye Rizzo: she leaves behind a toxic legacy

di Joe Volpe del 27 November 2019

TORONTO - Being a parent is tough. There are few, if any, guides for how to raise children and to keep them safe. No, I should correct that. There are so many that they are available for the proverbial “dime a dozen” … and just as effective.

We look for help from our own parents who, coincidently, get smarter as we get older, from grandparents – if they are still alive – or from schools which may or may not share our same desire to educate our kids in a wholesome, secure environment. Good luck with that. “Detours” materialize out of nowhere, like “pop ups” on the internet.

They “bully” and distract our children from the gradual transformation to adolescence and to young adulthood. We wish for them a tranquil innocent journey. Unfortunately, life’s tough and after the fact legal recourse is small comfort for “predatory” attitudes and behaviours that disrupt that journey. What to do?

Being a child is just as tough as being a parent. No sooner do you begin to come to grips with your emotions, with your changing physiology, your anatomy, the resulting “feelings towards others”, your growing autonomy from your parents etc. then you are faced with the emerging challenges of social integration, soon to be followed by ever more insistent pressing issues of preparing for job market integration.

Whose guidance do you follow? What criteria shape your standards – performance goals you hope to exceed to your own satisfaction? Would your parents and grandparents approve? What rationale can you provide for deviating from the standards they set as a guide? Does your school feel like a home? What contributions are you expected to make towards the creation of that environment? Do your teachers conduct themselves according to the Law, “in loco parentis”?

What are the Trustees contributing to the future society for which they received an electoral mandate to nurture? Some, especially at the Toronto Catholic District School Board may be surprised to learn they have a legal and fiduciary obligation to supervise the educational environment and outcomes in their school system, as the parents of the children they serve demand.

Some Trustees are overstepping their jurisdiction and evangelizing conduct that is inconsistent with the ethic of the school system they are supposed to uphold under the guise of promoting “human rights”.

They should seek election at the Federal level or the Provincial – jurisdictions concerned with “bigger picture” issues than performance on Math, Language and other life skills.

While we are on the topic of jurisdictional process, The Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) struck a Committee on Catholic Values, earlier in the year, to address in part the impact of emerging secular values trends and how they might impact on both the curriculum and the Catholic ethic promoted by the Board whose mandate is to do precisely that.

The five Trustees on that Committee, in October, deliberated at length whether and how the LGBTQ demand that “gender identity” be included in the Board’s Code of Conduct. The rationale is for another article, but, four of the five voted against. The lone vote in favour belonged to Maria Rizzo, the outgoing Chair.

Procedurally, the decisions of a Committee are virtually rubber- stamped. Not so this time. Ms. Rizzo, whose schools are among the poorest performers in the EQAO process and in student behaviour, chose to do her level best to divide the TCDSB, and the Diocese in the process, with a trumped up issue of discrimination and bullying promoted by the very Catholic ethic she was elected to uphold.

Some 2,270 Catholic parents signed a petition, over the weekend, to have her removed from office. Some of them sent her emails to that e.ect – emails that she has chosen to view as harassment and threatened (in a “cease and desist” lawyer’s letter) to call the police or pursue the matter in Court. Some fifty of them carrying placards collected outside the Board offices to deliver the petitions.

She is not seeking re-election to the Chair, apparently due to a legal case before the Court having to do with the uttering of a threat involving physical harm against a Union official. Neither the o.cial nor the trustee returned calls to the Corriere on the subject.

It is never easy to serve the public. We should demand that at the very least that pretenders to public office stay true to their mandate.

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