TORONTO - There is a limit to the people’s patience. Opinion polls (the most recent by Abacus, February 4) suggest the public is growing distrusting of “political leadership” – irrespective of party preference. It is increasingly concerned about health (physical and mental), education, the economy and a “return to normalcy”.
At the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB), a former student trustee is calling for the removal of four elected trustees following a Report seemingly supporting her allegations of “racist” breaches of human rights on the part of her former elected colleagues.
In Toronto, the Catholic District School Board (TCDSB), another Education-business enterprise valued at approximately $1.3 billion annually and responsible for 90,000 students serviced by a combined instructional and support staff of 10,000, has an identity and “mission” problem. It met Thursday evening to discuss… flags, sex and whether non-Catholics should be allowed as trustees.
The Law of the land – the Constitution, the Education Act and the Human Rights Code – requires it to deliver a curriculum to Catholics, according to precepts outlined and interpreted by the magisterium, in this case, the Cardinal.
Like it or not, it is the Law. There are other provisions applicable to anyone not covered by the “Catholic ethic”.
And, no, Catholic education is not “publicly funded”, in the current sense of the usage of the term. It receives revenues derived from taxes levied on Catholic school supporters who identify themselves as such, voluntarily, on the assessment rolls.
There may be exceptions, but these prove the rule and consequently can have no bearing on the Constitutionally mandated obligation to deliver a Catholic context for educational programs. What that means is that people know what to expect “going in” and accept it.
Today, in a “counter-culture” environment, some trustees may not be up to the task. Thursday’s meeting seemed to begin according to plan with a pathetically embarrassing first presentation by a non-resident on flag waving. It was followed by time-wasting, ridiculously orchestrated, argumentations delivered by minors recruited specifically to present in support of a Motion by fingerpointing trustees to undermine that Catholic mandate.
Joseph Markson, a parent from the Fr. John Redmond H.S., in his presentation and subsequent question and answer, remarked that “It is unreasonable to expect a leader in Catholic education to affirm, promote and manifest values that he or she does not personally know, understand, believe or may even deny or reject. … [Being a trustee] carries the responsibility to affirm and promote faithdriven Catholic values in education.”
How refreshing. Someone who actually prepared himself before offering an observation or expressing a point of view on the mandate. He went on: “At a minimum, there should be a faith connection to Catholic values for leaders entrusted to foster Catholic values in Catholic education. Not everyone is inclined or qualified to do so”.
But, if they are neither inclined nor qualified, they have a fiduciary duty to inform themselves. They cannot willingly ignore their obligations to their taxpayer. The guidelines from the magisterium are readily available and have been, so for as long as the gender identity and flag waving issues have been before the Board.
The Corriere Canadese has copies (from the Office of the Liaison for Catholic Education, Archdiocese of Toronto- updated 2020), even as it has been critical of the Cardinal’s reluctance to bring the trustees and teaching staff to heel, so to speak. It is titled Speaking the truth in love, Pastoral Guidelines for Educators Concerning Students experiencing Gender Incongruence.
It may have been coincidental - unlikely - but Trustee Lubinski rose on a procedural point to introduce the document. She was unsuccessful. Too bad. It is a thoughtful, reasoned document integral to the Teaching Magisterium and its obligations.
It would put to the lie that the TCDSB is a homophobic system and that Catholics are phobic of all things sexual.
Some trustees appear more focused on political ambition, perpetuating that lie and destroying the Catholic system from within rather than in fulfilling their sworn mandate.
Mr. Markson may be indicative of a growing number of parents who would prefer to give the proverbial boot to offending trustees and their enablers among staff for not doing their job.
TO READ PREVIOUS COMMENTS: https://www.corriere.ca/english-articles