Arrogance and Political Bullying Against York Catholics and Italians
TORONTO – If you are a parent in the York Catholic District School Board (50,000 + students, according to its website), you are about to be kicked to the curbside. You will have company: the Catholic Church will have been “booted” to the same sideline when it comes to institutions entrusted with the education of your children.
Tuesday, May 23, I watched as the Executive Committee debated the approval of the Board Agenda for the upcoming May 29 board meeting. It was not so much a debate on issues as it was a discussion about how to use procedures. The end goal, on the part of some, was to prevent parents from exercising their rights to speak on behalf of what is appropriate subject matter of instruction for their offspring.
Seven of ten Trustees were in attendance. The Chair and the Director share the “responsibility for setting the agenda”. The last three monthly meetings have been disrupted by planned, orchestrated, protests organized by local Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) activists. They appeared to have the consent and/or co-operation of the Director, Domenic Scuglia. He is indulgent in their regard because it is his view that they are entitled to believe and act upon their beliefs. For good measure, he has caused the police to remove parents from the Board premises.
Probably wishing to avoid a fourth such debacle, or maybe not anxious to engage in a debate that would play into the hands of those who loathe the very existence of Catholic schools, the Chair, Frank Alexander, removed all applicants to delegate from the proposed list.
When it came to approving the placement of the Director’s Report, he took a seemingly rigorous position: strike it from the agenda, because it contained a “poison pill”. Such a tactic would have the effect of resurrecting the matters avoided in the striking of the delegations.
Chair Alexander had obviously seen the Report. It was not public. The Vice Chair, Maria Iafrate asked why the Report “was not ready”. She did “not want to be blindsided” by having the Report presented at Board without having seen it first.
The Board Secretary, Scuglia, was not very forthcoming, mumbling about having to make revisions and restructurings […] “then, the long weekend…”. Iafrate insisted that [staff should do its job] “this is a big item, so it is a problem”. Scuglia demurred, offering to have it by end of day, or by Wednesday or within the required 72 hours pre-public meeting.
A perturbed and impatient Alexander repeated that there would NOT be a recommendation accompanying the Report. As of May 25, at time of going to print. There was no posted Agenda, much less a Director’s Report.
It is virtually impossible to avoid the conclusion that Scuglia and some trustees are clearly trying to “force the hand” of the Board. They are using “outside YCDSB anti-Catholic agitators” to leverage pressure.
A confirmed Catholic hater/employee of the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) posted a “media request: please send journalists to witness the hate that will be displayed by some anti-pride [flag]… ” .
The post comes with a letter addressed to the “Board of Trustees for the YCDSB” lecturing/hectoring them on [their interpretations of] the meanings of the Catholic message and trustee obligations to it. There are fourteen (14) signatories: (a) three Toronto public school trustees, (b) two Durham public board trustees, (c) two former York Region public school trustees, (d) one Markham City Councillor, (e) three Halton Catholic District School Board trustees – two of them being contested for ineligibility as Catholic electors under the Education Act; one of them also for non-residency and non-citizenship,(f) one from Toronto Catholic District, (g) the president of York Region’s OECTA, who by the way, also signed on behalf of the entire unit’s membership – their support does not appear to have been solicited, and (h) one activist whose residence is undefined.
The archbishop, his parish priests, Catholic lay leadership may have to step in sooner or later to safeguard the Rule of Law as it pertains to Constitutional rights of His Majesty’s Roman Catholic subjects in education. Agitators like the above will dictate their own version of rights under the Constitution and subservient legislation.