Human rights commission supports firing of school administrators who commit violations

Ontario’s human rights commission says it is concerned about reports of school board members making homophobic or racist remarks, and wants removal from office considered a possible sanction.

In a letter to Education Minister Stephen Lecce, sent as part of his ministry’s consultation on how to boost the accountability of elected school board officials, Chief Commissioner Patricia DeGuire wrote that “Trustees must be held accountable to the school community, government and the general public. Trustee codes of conduct, when drafted and used effectively, can help prevent discriminatory conduct and promote human rights accountability. “

He also said the ministry is correct in wanting to “identify and require, through statutory regulations, minimum standards for trustee codes of conduct, including ensuring that human rights are consistently respected across all funded school boards. with public funds “.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission, he added, “is concerned about reports of trustees engaging in discriminatory conduct that includes homophobic, Islamophobic and racist comments. It is particularly concerning when such behavior is exhibited by educational leaders who have been entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that school systems uphold and uphold human rights.

He also said that “more stringent penalties, such as removal from office when permitted by law, may be necessary in the case of a very serious offense. The (commission) recommends that school boards have all the necessary authority to remedy human rights violations. “

Caitlin Clark, Lecce’s director of media relations, said the government “launched this consultation with a focus on driving greater transparency and accountability for parents and students.”

“We have heard countless parents raise serious concerns about lack of accountability with some Ontario trustees.”

Lecce, along with former Prime Minister Kathleen Wynne, had expressed concern in the past over the actions of Toronto Catholic District School Board trustee Mike Del Grande, who connected LGBT rights with bestiality and pedophilia in a motion that he proposed two years ago.

The trustees subsequently voted to censor him, ordering him to apologize and undergo equity training.

A board spokesperson said Monday that “the matter is before the court under judicial review and for that reason the board will not comment on this matter at this time.”


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