You may have noticed that schools are closed. Children (that is the legal definition for people under the age of 18) are “studying remotely”, if at all. Distance learning is all the rage. Contagion, vaccination, “herd immunity” have displaced math, science, technical know-how, development of social skills, and critical thinking.
Minister of Education Stephen Lecce, wherever he might be, is on a different agenda. Caitlin Clark, his spokesperson, said the Minister “has been clear – all forms of hate, racism and discrimination have no place in Canada.” There, if you are like me, you feel better already.
She was responding to the latest kerfuffle created by a school board’s Equity Advisor hired to bring harmony, inclusion, respect and dignity for the human person into the educational environment. No, this one is not with the Catholic District School Board, although he may have been hired by Director Browne when he was a Superintendent at the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).
Javier Davila, self-styled “queerLatine”, has touched off a firestorm of personal diatribe, ethnic hatred, religious bigotry, political disruption, union intolerance, professional misconduct. Did I forget to mention anti-Semitism?
TDSB, the country’s largest school board is entrusted with educating 220, 000 children. Six percent of Toronto’s residents are Jewish (190,000 residents). TDSB claims that two percent (somewhere around 4,000 children) of its students are from that group. There may be a lot fewer next September.
Mr. Davila decided that, in an environment that sees schools in lockdown mode, he should send out manuals for combating colonization and oppression… in Gaza and Israel (no, not Toronto), just as missiles and rockets were raining on Palestinians and Israelis – Muslims and Jews alike, with differing degrees of fatality.
For Mr. Davila it’s all about the “-ized group” in society: marginalized, racialized, colonized, sexualized who are under the thumb of privileged, religiously bigoted oppressors.
Here is a sample, from the TDSB website, of his contribution to education:
The Gender-Based Violence Prevention Mailing List, an opt-in mailout that includes resources, event announcements and other news and articles related to gender-based violence prevention, sexual violence prevention and healthy relationships using a critical anti-racist, intersectional, and decolonial framework that call out anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
These resources use a power analysis and support critical thinking and action on transforming conditions that enable harm and creating ones that promote healing, care, dignity and liberation. These resources aim to support 2SLGBTQ+ youth with multiple identities and belonging to BLACK, INDIGENOUS, RACIALIZED and DISABLED communities. They support of Indigenous sovereignty, Indigenous self-determination and LAND BACK.
He caught the attention of Sue Ann Levy (whom I do not know personally), a respected writer-journalist, former candidate for political office (Conservative) and publicly admitted Lesbian. It happens that she is Jewish. She objected to the way public resources at the TDSB were being [ab]/[mis]used to foment anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic feelings in Toronto.
The usual Mudslinging Machine Immediately came out to pillory her. It launched an online petition intended for educators at the TDSB to dissuade the Board from disciplining Mr. Davila. As of Friday, at 10:00 PM, almost 3597 had signed on.
The petition reads like a “hate-mongering” Marxist Manifesto. Read it here. These are the people who would “teach our children”.
The graph (copied from the TDSB website) in the link below illustrates who attends the TDSB, Director Browne’s former employer: Who Our Students Are
Note that only 33% of students are Christian – 72,600 children.
Thursday, Director Browne convinced Catholic Trustees into authorizing the conducting of a similar census survey for the TCDSB. He may not be aware that almost 100% of its population is Catholic, 90,000 children. Maybe that is “the problem he is trying to fix”.
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