Toronto School Board Trustee Faces Hearing for Gender, Abortion Comments

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Ontario’s College of Teachers has accused a schoolhouse committee trustee of nonrecreational misconduct for comments helium made connected gender identity and abortion.

Trustee Michael Del Grande of the Toronto Catholic School Board could beryllium disciplined for 2 incidents. In one, helium spoke to a pupil trustee aft she criticized an anti-abortion film. On the different occasion, Del Grande commented connected a “slippery slope” the committee mightiness spell down if it included protections for “gender identity” and “gender expression” successful its Code of Conduct.

At a disciplinary proceeding connected Nov. 30, assemblage lawyer Rebecca Zaretsky said it’s not astir Del Grande expressing his views connected these subjects arsenic an elected authoritative oregon a Catholic; it’s astir “the mode successful which helium voiced his opposition.”

She argued his words were “offensive and demeaning” toward each LGBTQ students. Former Student Trustee Taylor Dallin testified that she “was truly affectional and truly hurt” by his words.

Del Grande’s lawyer Charles Lugosi argued that the assemblage took his client’s words retired of discourse successful its investigation. He besides argued that statement connected arguable topics is bound to make discourtesy and Del Grande was wrong his close to state of expression.

‘Slippery Slope’

On Nov. 7, 2019, erstwhile the board’s Student Achievement Committee debated including “gender identity” and akin presumption successful the Code of Conduct, Del Grande said the committee would beryllium going down a “slippery slope.” They mightiness besides adhd “bestiality, pedophilia, gerontophilia,” and immoderate 25 different philias to the list, helium said.

Zaretsky said successful her opening remarks: “The assemblage volition found that it was disgraceful, dishonorable, and unprofessional, and unbecoming for a subordinate who was an acquisition leader, to publically explicit hostile attitudes towards LGBTQ-plus assemblage members by suggesting that they were nary much entitled to extortion from favoritism than rapists, cannibals, pedophiles, and vampires.”

Lugosi argued that Del Grande was employing a literate method of hyperbolic rhetoric successful listing disconnected each philia helium could find.

“Anybody who tin employment logic and look astatine the words themselves and the discourse of his literate usage of connection volition easy spot helium was ne'er equating the groups,” Lugosi said. “He was doing a Howard Moscoe thing.”

Howard Moscoe was a long-serving Toronto metropolis councilor known for “his theatrical ways of communicating, wherever helium would usage gross exaggeration that would beryllium violative to radical to get distant with making the constituent helium wants to make,” Lugosi said.

The assemblage besides accused Del Grande of making inappropriate comments to the media defending his “slippery slope” comment.

During a Global News podcast interview, he said: “The slippery slope is precisely that. It’s the slippery slope. People nonstop their kids to a Catholic schoolhouse due to the fact that they expect Catholic morality, Catholic teaching, Catholic values … I don’t recognize for the beingness of maine wherefore assorted provincial governments person to sexualize everything successful the classroom.”

In an nonfiction published connected LifeSiteNews.com, helium quoted Fr. Dwight Longenecker:  “First we place evil. Then we licence evil. Then we legalize evil. Then we beforehand evil. Then we observe evil. Then we persecute those who inactive telephone it evil.”

Zaretsky said helium fundamentally called LGBTQ students “evil.”

‘Unplanned’

On Sept. 25, 2019, a gathering of the board’s Catholic Values Subcommittee discussed a connection to play a movie titled “Unplanned” successful immoderate classrooms. The movie is based connected the memoirs of anti-abortion activistic Abby Johnson who was erstwhile a session manager astatine Planned Parenthood. Johnson’s communicative details antagonistic experiences astatine the clinic, peculiarly watching via ultrasound a fetus arsenic it was being aborted. Student Trustee Dallin expressed concerns astir the movie and its stance against abortion.

Del Grande, said Lugosi, felt it was his work to uphold Catholic values and bring this movie to the classroom. The assemblage included connected its list of Del Grande’s alleged offenses his assemblage connection portion Dallin was speaking.

He was “rolling his eyes, sighing, frowning, snickering, utilizing a hostile and/or sarcastic code and utilizing assertive assemblage language,” the announcement of proceeding said.

After the meeting, helium spoke to Dallin successful the trustee’s lounge. The assemblage alleges successful the announcement of proceeding that helium told her she “was brainwashed by the Liberals.”

Dallin began her grounds astatine the hearing, but Lugosi did not person a accidental to question her earlier the proceeding ended, to beryllium reconvened successful the caller year. Del Grande and his witnesses person besides not yet had a accidental to recount events from their perspectives.

In his opening remarks, Lugosi said that Dallin knew, “or ought to person known, [discussion of the film] was going to stimulate controversy.” She initiated commentary connected the movie truthful “she can’t aboriginal complain, I would suggest, that she’s offended by idiosyncratic other who disagrees with her.”

Free Speech

Lugosi said this hearing, arsenic it continues, volition research Del Grande’s close to escaped speech. He cited a caller Supreme Court lawsuit that ruled successful favour of Quebec comedian Mike Ward, who made a gag astir a disabled singer. That decision said that to regularisation successful favour of the offended vocalist would effect successful “a displacement toward protecting a close not to beryllium offended, which has nary spot successful a antiauthoritarian society.”

The college’s Zaretsky said, “There are limits to anyone’s state of it expression, peculiarly truthful for a subordinate of the teaching assemblage speaking astir students successful beforehand of students successful the discourse of a student’s accomplishment and wellbeing committee meeting.”

Lugosi questioned, however, to what grade Del Grande tin beryllium tried arsenic a “member of the teaching profession.” Though helium has a teaching license, helium was acting arsenic a trustee, not a teacher, Lugosi said.

Del Grande has already faced enquiry connected these matters for years. A crowdfunding campaign to screen his ineligible costs has raised conscionable nether $120,000.

In August 2020, schoolhouse committee trustees voted that Del Grande did not breach the trustee codification of behaviour with his statements. In November 2020, the committee reopened and reversed its August decision. Del Grande took the committee to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for doing so, and was yet heard successful the tribunal in October of this year. A determination has not yet been made by the court.

Now, the College of Teachers is holding hearings connected his case.

The college’s charges against Del Grande see that helium (1) abused a pupil oregon students, verbally; (2) helium abused a pupil oregon students psychologically oregon emotionally; (3) committed acts that “would reasonably beryllium regarded by members arsenic disgraceful, dishonourable oregon unprofessional; and (4) engaged successful behaviour unbecoming a member.

Tara MacIsaac

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​​Tara MacIsaac is an Epoch Times newsman based successful Toronto.