Another teacher has come out of the woodwork to pen concerns about the rampant violence at their school–this one, not surprisingly, teaching in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).
The elementary school teacher says in her open letter, obtained by school reformer and activist Michael Teper, that their day-to-day reality at the TDSB is one of “fear, reprisal and fear of reprisal.”
She says their professionalism is regularly under attack.
She’s experienced and witnessed “reprisals” to staff who report violent incidents and try to obtain support for the “most vulnerable” (she does not define what she means by the most vulnerable.)
She says whenever a teacher pushes back and challenges the school’s mantra that they are promoting a “safe and caring learning environment,” they are targeted for engaging in professional misconduct.
If staff even advocate in e-mails or in staff meetings for “safety” and “equity” in their schools, they face suspension.
“This has resulted in a culture of fear – don’t say anything, don’t report on anything,” writes the teacher, noting superintendents have a “vested interest” in protecting their principals and seemingly sweeping concerns under the rug.
“I know of no other profession where being targeted or attacked is part of the job,” she adds.
She emphasizes that those teachers who do speak up are either disciplined or moved to another school.
In a report to the TDSB in 2008 – some 15 years ago – lawyer Julian Falconer raised the spectre of a culture of fear at the board.
He found that many employees would only speak on safety issues if their words weren’t attributed to them. He characterized it as a “culture of silence” due to fear of political or bureaucratic reprisal or both.
Of course, many promises were made to improve the culture but that didn’t happen.
In another governance review in 2015, education expert and consultant Margaret Wilson concluded that the culture of fear among TDSB employees was so pervasive they were afraid to use their board e-mail addresses for fear of being monitored.
She called the culture “deeply disturbing.”
Fast forward to 2023 and layer on that woke ideology perpetuated by activists running Ontario’s largest school boards and one has a recipe for sheer disaster.
TDSB education director Colleen Russell Rawlins, a black activist, came to the board from Peel, where she imposed her woke anti-oppression agenda– to the detriment of the board’s schools.
The impact of her agenda – which considers discipline, including suspensions and expulsions oppressive – has turned many of the board’s schools into war zones.
Despite all the evidence pointing towards the lack of consequences as the prime reason for the mounting violence, Russell Rawlins and her underlings have become the best definition of insanity – imposing the same hug-a-thug policies and expecting a different result.
Instead, it’s clear she’s turned her sights on poor teachers, who are being disciplined for expecting to teach in a classroom that is free of chaos and violence.
I can’t believe that education minister Steven Lecce has allowed this rot to escalate.