YCDSB, Director Defies
Parents and Trustees

TORONTO – In theory, the provincial government, through its Minister of Education (currently Stephen Lecce) drives the Education agenda. It proposes enabling legislation, and, through its departmental officials, structures the Regulations. 

These “Regs” determine what, among other matters, will be taught and financed. However, they must be consistent with Constitutional obligations and the rights of parents to determine “what is in the best interests of [their] child(ren)”. Some of those obligations imposed on governments and rights of parents to a Catholic-based education are inviolable. The general expectation is others have an alternate and equitable choice (public, non-Catholic schools).

Regrettably, there are still some resent “denominational rights” negotiated by Catholic in the Constitution Act (1867 and 1982), the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982) and the Human Rights Code. Strangely, they seem to feel that referring to Catholics (and other Christians) as “haters” somehow advances the cause of collective agenda and growth of community.

Lobby groups for a different lifestyle appear particularly disrespectful of parents who choose to insist on their legal right be involved in the education of their own children. Explicitly, they vote for trustees to safeguard their interests in loco parentis. Implicitly, they rely on their elected officials and the staff hired to discharge those duties to abide by the procedures developed to secure those interests.

For those who might have difficulty following the concept: the job of the Trustees and the Administration of Catholic District School Boards is, ethically and legally, to ensure those schools remain Catholic.

Observance of procedures (in any democratically driven governance model) helps to legitimize any discussions and/or changes prior decisions to alter expectations and to diminish conflict. There is plenty of that brewing in Education as parents begin to revolt against initiative that they see as inimical to the best interests of their children, in the short and long term.

The parents’ community of the Conseil Scolaire Catholique Mon Avenir may be deluded by the behaviour of its Trustees and Staff in this regard. They are not alone. Monday night, the parents of York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB) may bear witness to the “cultural and legal damage” to their community when its CEO (the Director) ignores instructions by the Chair of the Board of Trustees that (1) there would be no delegations on the issue of flags, (2) nor would the CEO’s Report contain any Recommendations.

The latter is a blanket statement. It seemed to this observer of the Executive Committee (EC) meeting on May 23, that Chair Alexander was trying to ensure that no one would be “blindsided” by gamesmanship tactics to insinuate discussion of items not approved for same by the EC.

The Agenda for the May 29 meeting was posted after business hours on Friday, May 26. As of going to print, there is no indication of a special board meeting to receive and refer a Report for approval of the Director’s Report that does not conform to what the EC instructed him to do. Briefly, his Report (and its contents) is/are arguably illegitimate.

One of the items in the report contains a recommendation, by a sub-committee, in respect of the above flag issue. Procedurally, it can have no merit. A sub-committee reports to the Standing Committee that gave it the mandate – a mandate that expires once the report is tabled. The report was unavailable to the EC, as required, before the Board Agenda was made public.

Too bad. It should have made for an interesting discussion. The report contains the results of a study in the incidences of bullyism and discrimination in the YCDSB. The study was conducted under the auspices of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. It found that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (among students) ranked fifth in a list of five causes of bullying.

As we reported in Friday’s edition, that did not prevent some irresponsible gadfly from issuing an invitation to Media to attend a demonstration of “hate” at the meeting. No doubt that was accompanied by the now usual complaint to the police to show up in force – to prove the point.

In any other well governed organization, the Director/CEO will already have been looking for another placement elsewhere.