St. Michael’s College reputation in tatters

di Joe Volpe del November 19, 2018

TORONTO - I feel very badly for the young boys who were bullied, assaulted and violated by their “peers” at St. Michaels College School on Bathurst Street in Toronto.

As a parent, or grandparent, the safety of our children – physical and psychological – is a shortterm and lifelong concern we cannot, do not, cavalierly dismiss with exculpatory phrase, like ‘’boys will be boys, it’s part of the growing up process”.

Images of the brutality visited upon the child-victims at St. Mike’s, will be imprinted in the memories of their fellow students and their parents forever.

As at November 18, 2018, no one has yet to offer a word of comfort to those traumatized directly and/or by association. If the School and its Board of Directors had not made provisions for professional counselling, they should have been put out of business, immediately. Such is the measure of the anecdotal outrage.

Spare us the public the parade of testimonials highlighting the “quality people” who have emerged as alumni. The culture of the place has become unpalatable. Ask any mother. Ask the Police, who are trying to “contain the damage” with cautions (threats) of criminal charges against those who possess, view or disseminate images/videos of the disturbing incidents. Ask those who have allegedly made threats (of reprisals, presumably).

St. Mike’s is a business enterprise, pure and simple. It operates under license of the Ministry of Education. Everything that happens under its roof must pass the “smell tests” applied by of Ministry inspectors and every consideration – implicit and explicit - in the Education Act and its Regulations.

Those parents already contemplating legal recourse should not exempt the Government of Ontario from their Statement of Claim. Nor should they brush aside the responsibilities of the Archdiocese. While nominally Catholic, St. Mike’s is an independent educational enterprise. It is not part of the Catholic District School Board.

Its owners are the Fathers of the Basilian Order. They can their services in this archdiocese only with the expressed permission of the Cardinal. In this instance, the Basilians have entrusted the School to a governing body that includes three lay individuals: Nina Perfetto, lawyer/partner at Fogler Rubino.; Nick Di Donato, President of the Liberty Entertainment Group; and, David Forsayeth, President of Granite REIT.

These people will probably have “bullet-proofed” themselves and their firms from any legal challenges emerging from their presence on the Board of Directors. The Courts may have to figure that out. Following several threats allegedly made to the school (faculty and building), the Police swarmed the premises with visible and undercover presence.

They are continuing to investigate. As they should. If the victims had been your daughters or members of the LGBTQ would you have demanded less? What is the purpose of keeping the school open? My wife and I sent our sons to SMC. How would I justify doing that today?

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