Toronto District School Board (TDSB) trustees spent more than eight hours discussing how to tackle the tremendous uptick in violence in their schools – even though it was a foregone conclusion before they started that they’d turn to the same hug-a-thug methods that have not worked to date.

Executive superintendent Jim Spyropolous, to whom education director Colleen Russell Rawlins kept deferring, said what schools really need is a “caring adult” to deal with the violence.

So no adults have cared up to now?

Russell-Rawlins, who is a proponent of critical race theory (now dressed in the guise of anti-black racism), contended that student safety is clearly an issue of “great importance” and they are “listening and will keep listening.”

She said the plan they’ve put forward – A Collaborative Approach to School and Community Safety– has “firm timelines” and will involve working with local communities.

She said school monitors and social workers will be added to violent schools because the board believes in the “abilities” of thugs who have held the schools hostage and they “see their humanity” even when they “make mistakes”

The education director did not use the term “thugs” but I felt it important to do so to highlight how ludicrous it is for her to characterize those who shoot and kill others or terrorize schools as having “humanity” and just making mistakes.

Parents were invited to speak at what would turn out to be two nights of debate and interspersed between the “defund the police” activists, several made an urgent plea to reinstate cops in schools at least temporarily to bring the temperature down.

The cops in schools program was canceled in 2017 by the TDSB after vocal activist Desmond Cole and the BLM crowd pressured politicians into thinking police were targeting black students.

Parent after parent spoke of lockdowns at their child’s high school, fears of going to the washroom alone, stabbings in the school followed by a protest and then a shooting in the few months since school started.

“Grade 12 students have never experienced such a level of violence but are expected to perform to get into college or university,” said Larrisa Bholaraminsingh, a mom of a Grade 12 student at Woburn Collegiate. 

“Which college or university will know their level of trauma or stress?” she added.

Yogesh Kumar, co-chair of the Marc Garneau Collegiate parent council, said students had to deal with a lockdown on the very first day of school.

But pretending they actually cared about the scenarios the parents painted, the largely left-wing trustees wouldn’t hear of police. In fact for some – mainly the Black Lives Matter activists – the very thought of police set them into a frenzy.

One radical activist, Alexis Dawson, aggressively badgered those parents who mentioned the idea of police, trying to attack their credibility.

If the discussion couldn’t get more bizarre, at one point Spyropoulos proudly highlighted that from 2016 to 2020, suspensions have decreased by 6.4%–a goal of the board.

But, in the same period the number of violent incidents on TDSB school premises has been increasing and during this school year, the board could be reporting the “highest number of violent incidents” since 2000.

Violent incidents include weapons possession, physical assault causing bodily harm, sexual assault, robbery, using a weapon to threaten bodily harm, extortion, hate and/or bias-motived incidents.

For heaven’s sake, do these highly paid bureaucrats not understand the principle of cause and effect? Can they really be this foolish?

Between disbanding the Student Resource Officer (SRO) program and giving no consequences for bad behaviour, is it any wonder that violence is out of control in some Toronto schools?

Russell-Rawlins and Spyropolous kept returning to the narrative that violence is “systemic” and that they need to continue to address systemic barriers faced by black and indigenous students – that just building a “more inclusive and positive school culture” will restore learning environments.

Board vice-chair Neethan Shan – a professional candidate who was absolutely unimpressive during the one year he was a city councillor – added that anti-racism training was needed for everyone, even janitors.

Yes indeed that will curb violence.

Another trustee and York professor, Anu Sriskandarajah, who came onto the meeting from her home sporting a mask, reminded everyone that the “rights” of troublemakers need to be respected.

When Sriskandarajah asked about daily fights in schools, Russell-Rawlins responded that it is her expectation that principals will take real steps to “address underlying issues” that cause these fights.

It didn’t take eight hours to realize that few people in that TDSB boardroom are connected with reality and, except for a few new trustees like Weidong Pei, don’t really care about the safety of students.

The parents who dared, spoke loudly and clearly but the high-paid bureaucrats didn’t listen.

All they really care about is saving face and propping up an anti-oppression, anti-black racism agenda that has created divisiveness, hate and has increased violence.

Students, teachers and administrators will continue to pay the price for their absolute ineptitude and blindness.


  • Sue-Ann Levy

    A two-time investigative reporting award winner and nine-time winner of the Toronto Sun’s Readers Choice award for news writer, Sue-Ann Levy made her name for advocating the poor, the homeless, the elderly in long-term care and others without a voice and for fighting against the striking rise in anti-Semitism and the BDS movement across Canada.