By SueAnn Levy Oct 12 2022
Former Waterloo ESL teacher Caroline Burjoski is suing the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) to try to deter other school boards from “silencing” teachers and parents who may have a different ideology than woke bureaucrats and trustees.
“What happened to me shows how far our school board has fallen,” she told attendees at a recent speaking engagement in Waterloo called Education at the Crossroads.
“We must recover our democratic right to speak without fear of intimidation,” she said to a packed conference room with an equal number of people listening online.
One purpose of the conference was to educate parents about the kind of indoctrination that is occurring at Ontario school boards with the full approval of woke trustees – and to suggest there are candidates running in the October 24 election who are fighting for positive change.
Woke trustees have also been successful to date silencing those colleagues and other educators like Burjoski who have endeavored to expose the almost obsessive focus on gender ideology and Critical Race Theory (CRT).
In May Burjoski filed a $1.7-million defamation suit against WRDSB chairman Scott Piatkowsk and the board after they made widespread claims she was “transphobic” and had engaged in “hate speech” when she appeared before the board in January.
She alleges in her lawsuit that – while she was silenced and unable to defend herself – Piatkowski made defamatory statements to the media following the meeting. He claimed she was “disrespectful” to trans people in her presentation and that her words would cause them to “be attacked.”
Burjoski barely made it through four minutes of her deputation – in which she read from what she felt were highly sexualized books contained in elementary school libraries – when Piatkowski abruptly stopped her and expelled her from the meeting.
The former teacher, who retired at the end of January, has also filed a request for a judicial review of the WRDSB’s decision to cancel her deputation.
Since then, she’s come out swinging.
She showed the crowd an Early Years document provided by the board to teachers in which they are encouraged to teach kids as young as five that they “get to decide” if they’re a boy, girl, or something else (that the child has agency.)
“Telling children they can choose whether they’re a boy or girl will confuse them,” Burjoski said.
“Ideas about gender are being taught to younger children by teachers who see themselves as activists.”
She added that school boards are instructing teachers and administrators not to advise a student’s parents if they wish to change their gender, their name and their pronouns.
She says this policy “puts teachers in an ethical dilemma” and is an “outrageous breach of parental rights.”
David Haskell, a Wilfrid Laurier professor and leader of the Waterloo chapter of the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR), said because CRT has been getting a lot of bad press, school boards are now couching the theory in “anti-racism” education.
CRT, which has its roots in Marxist ideology, claims racism against blacks is embedded in all institutions, including the school system.
According to this dangerous policy, that creates an uneven playing field for black students, who are oppressed by those with white privilege.
But Haskell says the empirical data he’s collected shows that racism is not the reason for differences in academic achievement and that racist sentiment in the U.S. is “at its lowest.”
He said that it is clear from the research there are many factors involved in differences in outcomes beyond racism.
“Research shows that students of colour – especially those taught to believe that their personal actions drive their success – will succeed,” Haskell said.
He notes that CRT instruction has been banned in 35 states following considerable pushback from parents and students.
“It (CRT) treats black people as if they’re not self-sufficient,” Haskell said.
He added that the problem is that “most” school boards in Ontario (and in other parts of Canada) have been “hijacked by activists” who have no regard for empirical evidence or facts.
The bottom line is that parents have to start paying more attention to what is happening in their schools.
As Haskell noted, the pushback is already going strong south of the border.
But in Canada the woke propagandists are still winning the information war.
It starts with paying more attention to who is running for trustee, their policies and their voting records (if they’re incumbents).
Our children’s future depends on it.