Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) trustee Wendy Ashby, who equated Christian males to “threats,” has announced her resignation as an elected official.
In a statement released Sunday evening, Ashby said she would “vacate” her seat so that “we can all return our focus back on the important work that we have dedicated ourselves to doing,” referring to advancing “diversity, equity and inclusion” in the WCDSB.
Ashby’s resignation comes after parents complained about two controversial statements she made on Twitter.
In addition to her Tweet about Christian men, Ashby reacted to the newly-released provincial budget’s allocation of funds for personal support workers, claiming that “white women make obedient soldiers for the christofascist patriarchy.”
In an attempt to boot Ashby out of office, pro-parental rights groups like Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) and Parents as First Educators (PAFE) rallied supporters to attend board meetings and created petitions urging for her formal resignation. PAFE’s petition collected 3518 signatures and CLC’s collected 3160 to date.
Following the public pushback, WCDSB trustees Marissa Phillips and Robert Sikora condemned Ashby’s Tweets.
Even with a public statement issued by Ashby earlier in April, Sikora questioned whether she was “truly contrite and repentant.” He continued to endorse her resignation, stating that it would “allow the WCDSB to focus on the students and affirm to the public that our focus is on the safety and education of our students and staff.”
PAFE President Teresa Pierre is satisfied with Ashby’s departure.
“PAFE is pleased to have worked with trustees and a coalition of local parents these past few weeks to bring the situation of Wendy Ashby to light and to have pressured her to resign,” she said.
Ashby equated her resignation, driven by concerned parents, to online bullying.
“The outrageous rage baiting campaign that has been playing out illustrates the exact kind of harassment and online bullying that so many kids experience. What is even more troubling is that this behaviour is coming from adults. Most are from outside interest groups who have their own agenda,” she said.
Although Ashby’s resignation entails an absence from the school board realm of influence, she promises to continue her activism work through other channels.
“I stand, as always with our Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, and the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Particularly with transgender and nonbinary folks at this time of great uncertainty and fear. I will be continuing my advocacy in a capacity where I will be able to challenge tough issues and bring lasting change in a way that is positive and meaningful. I hope that one day advocacy for these groups will no longer be considered an act of bravery.”