Near-Riot at YCDSB Education Centre: Blow it up and start over again

TORONTO – The York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB) is an organization is crisis mode. It has received, in academic 2022-2023, a total of $601,705,281.00 in Grants for Student Needs (GSN) to nurture 49,233 students assigned to its care – 30,927 of them under the age of fourteen. The wrong people may be in charge. 

The GSN includes a “one-time” allocation of $7,177,854 for Covid-19 Learning Recovery Fund.  Of the twenty other line items in the Board budget approved by the Ministry of Education, only the Mental Health and Well-Being Grant has seen an increase, from $914, 750 in 2019 to $ 2,321, 622 (approximately 144% growth). That grant has come to be associated with programs designed to address issues associated with DEI (diversity, equity and “inclusion”).

YCDSB is a Catholic School Board, whose parent community has the guaranteed Constitutional right to have its children taught in the social-cultural environment consistent with, and approved by, the magisterium of the Catholic Church. No parent is obliged to send their children to those schools.

Yesterday, April 25, Education Minister Lecce and Premier Ford, in a meeting with the newly installed Archbishop of Toronto, pledged their unwavering commitment to the maintenance and promotion of the Catholic Schools system. The message must not have reached the YCDSB; or both political leaders were being untruthful.

Whatever the case, the regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of trustees turned into a nearly violent show-down between parents concerned about the directions being taken by Director Scuglia, some of his trustees, Senior Staff and a burlesque collection of teacher unionist (OECTA) radicals.

Police and security staff were all that stood between the contending sides. Some late adjustments to a previously approved Agenda resulted in a chaotic, angry, quasi-belligerent display of shouting and screaming in the main lobby of the Education Centre.

Approximately sixty (60) women/mothers vented their anger against seen and unseen agent provocateurs they held responsible for the Board’s “policy” of allowing teachers to place gay/trans logos in and around their classrooms.

They were genuinely put off by the apparent indifference of trustees at the emotional and thoughtful presentation by parents concerned that their autistic children had just been advised the classrooms and schools available to them until now would no longer be there. Meanwhile, they seemed more concerned with presentations associated with the language of “safe spaces”, pride flags and the hurt feelings of those a different community.

The indifference, intolerance and disrespect shown by this latter group to the delegator parents and pro-religious testimony of another presenter sparked the first outbursts of anger. It may be understandable. Trustee Jennifer Wigston festooned her laptop with the rainbow flag, presumably to show what her preference may be. Another anti-Catholic would-be delegator waved the rainbow flag behind the religious presenter as he spoke in favour of compliance with the mandated purpose of Catholic schools.

It was all downhill from there. From within the Board chamber to the Chamber to the foyer/atrium, language laced with profanities and accusations of [practitioners of] “pedophilia”, “groomers”, “Catholics haters”, “stay away from our children”.

Parents read from “reading material” their children had brought home from school, yelling their “questions of appropriateness” for six- and seven-year-old children. “Get out and give us back our schools” they shouted in the direction of the OECTA thugs shielding their leader Mark Totten as he sought refuge behind the lower- gallery doors.

Paul De Buono, a brazen woke employee favourite of Director Brendan Browne from Toronto, he taunted the protesting mothers by taking videos of them until a female Superintendent from of our schools persuaded him to go into the go into the same board room.

The police eventually dispersed the crowd, escorting even yours truly for having an umbrella in my hand.

This is the third consecutive general Board meeting at YCDSB where the police have had to be called to “keep the Peace”. Ironically, there appear to be “no safe spaces” for Catholic parents in their own schools or institutional headquarters.