Multiple online petitions are demanding the resignation of progressive Ottawa public school trustee Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth amid her controversial conduct during board meetings.
The first petition was shut down by Change.org, with the platform claiming it violated its “community guidelines in relation to hate speech.” A new petition has since been started and has received thousands of signatures.
The original petition came after Kaplan-Myrth silenced a father concerned about biological males using girls’ washrooms at a March board meeting – claiming his speech created “an unsafe environment for people who identify as gender diverse.”
Kaplan-Myrth responded to the first petition by calling for it to be shut down; claiming it was “transphobic hate speech” that actively discriminated against LGBTQIA people. “We must continue to speak against transphobia, homophobia, racism, antisemitism, misogyny,” she said.
The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) issued a statement condemning the petition as a “scurrilous attack”, and also wrote to Change.org to ask them to remove the petition, as reported by the Ottawa Citizen.
The removal of the first petition prompted an Ottawa parent living in Kaplan-Myrth’s zone to start a new one. True North spoke to the parent, who asked to remain anonymous and is using a pen name on Change.org.
“Living in the Alta Vista area, it concerns me sending my kids to an OCDSB school, having my representative be trustee Kaplan-Myrth and having her not willing to listen to anything that I have to say that differs with her opinion,” said the parent.
The Ottawa parent believes Kaplan-Myrth has not abided by OCDSB policies and its code of conduct, and thus needs to be reprimanded. “Ultimately I believe it would be best if she resigned.”
Kaplan-Myrth has since accused the parent behind the new petition of being a bully and a dangerous person “fuelled by hate”.
The parent noted that he “finds it interesting that trustee Kaplan-Myrth is asking for censorship of things like these petitions and other views, despite the fact that by doing that she is going against what she is said about her views being censored. She has made it quite clear that she does not want her views to be disregarded or censored as she believes them to be correct.”
He hopes the new petition will lead to “a productive discussion about trustee Kaplan-Myrth’s behavior and her lack of decorum in the meetings.” He added that he “worded (the) petition in a fairly neutral tone” amid not wanting to subject her to hate.
“I do not agree with the hate that she is receiving, including antisemitic comments, regardless of whether individuals believe that it is her behind it or it’s another person, it is not right, and it should not be happening,” said the parent.
Kaplan-Myrth has been the centre of controversy since she was elected to the board in October 2022.
Last November, she attempted to impose a strict medical mask mandate in OCDSB schools. The latter was rejected by other trustees amid outrage from parents and students – with several telling True North they would have not complied had it been implemented.
Kaplan-Myrth also famously claimed on a TVO panel that the word “normal” is a language used by the far-right and ableist.
True North reached out to Kaplan-Myrth, the OCDSB and Change.org for comment, but they did not respond in time for publication.