When trustee Weidong Pei endeavoured at a recent Toronto District School Board (TDSB) meeting to ask questions about the status of a review into the tragic death of principal Richard Bilkszto, he was quickly shot down.

In fact he’d barely gotten out the first two sentences when virtue signaling chairman Rachel Chernos-LIn told him he was out of order.  

“Is this related to the director’s leadership report,” said Chernos-Lin rather testily. “It’s out of order, sorry.”

The same scene repeated itself when Pei asked a presenter on safety and executive superintendent Jim Spyropolous about the status of violent incidents in board schools.

Spyropolous said they don’t have “the exact numbers” at this point but will have them shortly (some day, some month, some year).

Chernos-Lin interrupted Pei yet again when he asked about school violence related to safe injection sites.

She asked him what that had to do with the school board and safety in schools.

I couldn’t believe my ears. Is she really that foolish?

The South Riverdale Community Health Centre – the scene of a shooting of a mom of two this summer – is just metres away from a TDSB school.

TDSB chairman Rachel Chernos LIn

But the weak virtue signaling chairman got her marching orders from Colleen Russell-Rawlins, the director she is supposed to oversee. All the trained seals on the board at the meeting nodded in agreement.

They appeared to be on high alert, ready to gaslight any trustee, like Pei, who dares demand accountability.

Heaven forbid they should address real issues plaguing the board and the stories that made headlines for weeks this summer as they commence another school year.

Critical race theory and gender ideology is alive and well at Canada’s largest school board but transparency and accountability are dead.

I got a taste of that when I received a letter late last week informing me that it will take the board 125(!) days to find invoices submitted by the KOJO Institute, requested under FOI legislation. I’m appealing this effort at obstruction of course.

While the ship reels from the inside and a toxic bullying culture has principals and teachers anxious and afraid for their jobs (unless they follow the woke playbook), the impression must be conveyed that the board is being run efficiently and effectively by Russell-Rawlins and her acolytes, that she’s doing what’s best for kids.

Colleen Russell-Rawlins

After the requisite amount of back-patting at the August 30 meeting about all the summer programs run by the TDSB, the director indicated joy, engagement and belonging based on student identity are priorities for the board again this year to achieve “high academic achievement.” 

She claimed they are “aligned” with the ministry in improving student literacy and numeracy. 

One of the indicators that is new from the ministry, she said, is increasing school participation in monitoring attendance and suspensions.

She then vowed to continue their commitment to “truth and reconciliation, human rights, equity, anti-racism and anti-oppression” – the same message given at a meeting of board administrators earlier last week.

“In 2023 no student should have to leave their identity at the door to access learning or feel a sense of belonging or respect,” she said of her “mission”.

She added that as a school community they have a responsibility to combat hate.

It was obvious to me that Russell-Rawlins is a practiced politician who knows how to say all the right virtue signaling comments to the leftist trained seals on the school board.

She talks a good game.

But this black activist just refuses to get it.

I guarantee you that if she’d stop pandering to the so-called oppressed with a free pass for bad behaviour, with bordering on abusive indoctrination about white privilege, with a focus on diversity instead of the basics and social promotion for those who don’t bother to show up, perhaps TDSB students would achieve better results on standardized tests and graduate with some literacy.

Will she really allow schools to take attendance? My guess is no because it would show that some of the visible minority students she protects never make it to class and if they do, are often late.

And how do they monitor suspensions if they are never given in board schools?

I don’t need to make Russell-Rawlins’ $300K salary to know that yet again this year she and her acolytes will simply be rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic leaving teachers to work with woke edicts, badly behaved students and fears of being cancelled for looking at a black student or administrator the wrong way.

The board’s brass and the weak, bordering on useless, trustees are no doubt hoping that the rot exposed subsequent to Bilkszto’s death will simply fade away.


  • 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.