When jurisdictions Fail to live up to their Mandate…Again

di Joe Volpe del October 5, 2020

TORONTO - Sometimes, even fifth columnists can sound the alarm bells. Seven weeks ago, one Paolo De Buono, miffed that the Board of Trustees of his employer, the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB), had not found that the language employed by one of their own to be in contravention of their code of conduct, declared to all who follow his twitter feed that the TCDSB was not the place one should send their children.

He speaks with authority, being a grade one teacher with assignment in the virtual school of St. Anne’s Academy. Delegations before a TCDSB meeting on October 1, lent credence to his warnings – for a different set of reasons.

Three separate representations by parents, armed with lucid and graphic descriptions backed up by eye-witness accounts, police reports and video evidence, portrayed a gauntlet of shocking environmental factors children and their families at St Michael’s Choir School, need to overcome on a daily basis.

Thanks to a new neighbour, the former Bond Place Hotel, now Homeless Shelter, “the school now has drug dealing, drug use, gangs and weapons on the steps of the building”, testified the representative from the Safe School Committee. The school, located next door and across the street from the Cathedral bearing the name of the same archangel, offers a curriculum for boys from grades three to twelve.

The local Trustee, Norman Di Pasquale, “well-connected” to the caucuses at City Hall and the Opposition at Queen’s Park, professed to have only learned about the shelter in August, when it was o.cially opened, said in a Board meeting that it would receive “100%” of his attention.

Under his “watchful eye”, as per the delegations to the TCDSB, “the school has been broken into (by shelter residents) three times… an intruder approached a classroom and began masturbating (before a staff member caused him to flee)… visible hand to hand drug trafficking on school property…”

Another delegation pointed to the proliferation of “syringes… blades… condoms…tampons and feces on the lawn and doorsteps”. In fact, some parents had to block the views of their sons as a “woman with no clothes on… [made her way] south on Bond St. There are only six buildings on either side of the street between Dundas and Shuter streets.

The Bond Shelter currently houses 134 homeless peoplekind, open to “all genders”, and the preferred site for the transfer of residents from the Broadway Ave site, which had experienced an outbreak of Covid-19. As well, there had been a stabbing of a City official, a fire and a weapons charge.

Dixon Hall, the shelter agency (revenues stream of $12,000,000.00 projected for 2020), operates the Bond shelter. One the parents delegating expressed frustration that Bond operates as a “no barriers shelter”, meaning no background or sexual history checks required in an area teeming with children (attendance last year: 588).

The school’s playground is 30 meters away from the shelter; the Cathedral another 50 meters further south.

Apparently, neither Dixon Hall nor former Councillor Joe Mihevic, who Chairs the City Committee responsible for placements, consulted with the school community, or the Church. It appears to have been an oversight! If one can believe that; or that the local Councillor, Kristyn Wong- Tam, would not have known.

Now, That would be odd. Just as odd that two iconic institutions in Toronto’s Catholic community - the School Board and the Cardinal – were ignorant of what was going on in their backyard. Negotiations had been on-going since the end of March to relocate the “homeless” from Broadway to Bond.

Di Pasquale is now committed to writing a letter to the Mayor. There might not be any need. He should beg his colleague Maria Rizzo, a close friend of Councillors Filion, Cressy, Wong-Tam, and former Councillor Mihevc to immediately address this issue and shut the Shelter down.

Otherwise, De Buono will be right about it being “open season” on catholic kids of all genders.

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