School boards: Clean out the Augean stables
Next week we send our children back to school… maybe. Children and schools are the future of our society. In economic terminology, they are our most precious assets, and we invest individually and collectively in their growth.
Somewhere along the line, those into whose care we entrusted our assets seem to have lost that sense of vocation to train tomorrow’s citizenry in material skills and collective purpose. The public-school boards in the greater Toronto area and beyond have ended a year marked with social-cultural turmoil and academic/skill deficits in the pursuit of “safe spaces”.
Leadership is in very short supply. The saga of the former Halton District School Board teacher, “Kayla Lemieux”, who dressed in oversized breast prosthetics, has just been confirmed as hired onto the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB). This is the Board where a former Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Superintendent, Sheryl Robinson Petrazzini, who figured prominently in the scandal involving the suicide of Richard Bilkszto in July, is now Director of Education.
The Catholic boards have been no better. Their Administrative Staff and Trustees have all but abandoned their creed-based raison d’etre, even if the Constitution, the Education Act and their oath of office essentially compel them to be observant.
One of the teachers, Paolo De Buono, who lives in York region but is employed at the TCDSB, has been doing cartwheels in the elementary schools, the classrooms and at board meetings to heap scorn on the Catholic Creed, its icons, its catechism and its approved texts for curriculum. He has set himself up as the final arbiter of what will be taught in his classroom – a Lemieux – type character.
Lifesites, an online periodical, on August 30, produced and published a thorough, documented piece on the “inconsistencies” Paolo presents as his version of real world, yesterday (for the full interview, click here: https://twitter.com/LifeSite/status/1696960982617137303), to children below the age of thirteen.
His defiance spares no teachers, no rules, no leaders of a Constitutionally mandated system of education. He has ‘‘forbidden” the archbishop, the cardinal (and who knows whom) to enter his classroom and utter words inconsistent with his own “teachings”.
We know this because he documents his every step on Twitter/X.
Last June, his social media posts outlined how he stalked a female member of staff to serve her with intent to sue. In fact, he points out he had served his siblings with similar papers and Statements of Claim. To add an element of “justification” for his harassment, he accused his older brother of committing sexual assault against him when he was younger than ten years of age. Further, he attributes to both brother and sister nefarious monetary designs on the family estate.
His sister has publicly denied any such allegations to both the Corriere Canadese and to Lifesites. His colleagues have expressed frustration at the inaction by the Administration – Principal, Superintendent and Director – in the face of their and parental complaints at his antics.
At the beginning of the week, he issued a letter to all his school colleagues that “he did not feel safe” in their midst (read it here) but did not resign or retire. Anything can happen. It seems that his “public appearances” are associated with heavy police presence.
He still has a job in the Catholic board.
His sister alleges that a trustee may be running interference for him because of a family relationship. The Director, Brendan Browne, a former colleague of the Director at HWDSB, is remarkably silent, to the point of indolence.
Such is the state of Catholic education today. Who will take up the challenge?