Late in the afternoon last Friday the Waterloo Region District School Board posted an open letter responding to concerns about the board’s repeated focus – to the point of obsession– on the sexual orientation and gender identity of its students.

Although he was never named in the open letter, parent David Todor, who gave a scathing speech to trustees at a board meeting a week ago, was the target of the letter.

It was anonymous and unsigned, despite claims in it that the board was trying to be “transparent” to everyone they serve by posting it widely.

And even though Todor’s presentation was made last Monday night, the board dropped their highly defensive and at times vitriolic response on Friday just before quitting time, in my view deliberately.

The letter – which stumbles along for three pages endeavouring to defend the indefensible – is a seeming attempt to intimidate and cancel yet another person for daring to speak out about the board’s bizarre focus on age-inappropriate and highly sexualized books, surveys and policies. 

In this case it is a parent. A year ago it was now retired 20-year teacher Carolyn Burjoski, who was shut down four minutes into her presentation. She is now engaged in a $1.7-million defamation suit against the board.

The open letter attacks parents for framing their questions with what they call an “accusatory” tone and which often contained “inflammatory language and misinformation.”

It also claims that framing the board’s obsession with finding out the gender and sexual orientation of children in Grade 4 (through a series of surveys) as tantamount to child abuse was both “egregious” and a “tried and tested method …to reverse human rights and equity protections of marginalised people.”

It maintains that criticizing age-inappropriate books in the board’s elementary school libraries – as Todor did – are “veiled attempts to target 2SLGBTQIA+ children and families.”

The letter implies that Todor’s talk was part of a wider campaign to target public education and the move to give special consideration to Indigenous, Black and racialized students.

“Hate, racism and xenophobia are not ‘opinions’ that should be gathered through consultation,” says the letter, automatically deferring to the tropes repeatedly used to try to intimidate those who question woke school boards.

“We believe in the Human Rights of all students, staff and families that we serve.”

The phrase human rights is used repeatedly throughout the missive.

Last Monday night Todor, a father of two young daughters, gave a scathing speech to trustees about surveys asking kids as young as those in Grade 4 to provide their sexual orientation and gender.

He also criticized their ongoing “censorship” of public meeting video proceedings, surveys and other policies.

Todor raised additional concerns with a controversial book located in the board’s elementary school libraries called “The Bluest Eye” written by Toni Morrison. The book, which has been banned by a number of school boards across North America, covers themes of oppression, misogyny, homosexuality and incest.

In its open letter, the board claims the book is not available to elementary school libraries. But it subsequently contradicts this by indicating the ebook is online to the entire student population.

In a phone interview, Todor said he was sad to see from this open letter that nothing has changed but happy that such a letter is so foolish and an “embarrassment” to the school board.

He added that there’s so much material in the letter that proves his point.

In fact, the board justifies the use of secrecy, sexual questions and inappropriate sexual materials under “protecting human rights,” he said.

He insists that asking a minor to disclose their sexual orientation and gender identity has absolutely nothing to do with the LGBT community or other marginalized groups.

“Is the school board using the LGBT community to ask kids these questions?” he said.

He reiterated that he simply wants to know who at the board is interested in knowing the sexuality and gender identity of his two daughters, 7 and 9, and why the board is creating a divide between parents and students.

“The board needs to stop hiding behind marginalized students and families,” he said. “They need to take accountability for their poor behaviour.”

The reaction on social media to the letter was swift.

Most thought the letter was out of line.


  • 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.