A greater Toronto area school trustee is facing censure over several “disrespectful” posts disparaging Christianity and parental rights protesters.

Durham District School Board Trustee Deb Oldfield was found to have violated several sections of the board’s Code of Conduct. 

According to Office of the Integrity Commissioner investigator Jeffrey Shapiro, Oldfield’s comments mocked religious beliefs and sowed polarization following a particularly heated May 15 board meeting at which parental rights advocates showed up to challenge policies at the school board rooted in gender ideology. 

Specifically, Oldfield’s posts were criticized for their lack of specificity in criticism, their use of extraordinary labels such as “neo-Nazis” and “fascists,” and for failing to meet the high standard of care expected of her position.

One of the contentious posts featured a political cartoon mocking Christian beliefs, while another condemned an entire religion based on the actions of a few individuals, drawing criticism for its discriminatory tone. 

“When offering a criticism, be specific as to what happened and explain why one disagrees. Unless truly required, avoid labeling, particularly with extraordinary labels such as ‘white supremacist’ and ‘fascist’,’” wrote Shapiro.

According to Shapiro’s report, Oldhand could not substantiate her comments that the demonstrators who were protesting gender ideology in schools were extremists. 

“Certainly, there are neo-Nazis and other hate groups in Canada who, among other goals, may seek actual violence against the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Parents and the other people that I saw on the DDSB recording, who spoke at the May 15 meeting, do not appear to be those groups and should not be talked about with the same labels as those spreading hate, unless it can be demonstrably proven,” argued the finding.

Additionally, a retweet inaccurately portrayed the school board’s policy on book objections, while another post was criticized for its disrespectful and unprofessional nature in addressing concerns raised by parents.

“Some of the impugned tweets (as indicated) draw disrespectful and unprofessional blurry lines between parental concerns and hate groups, and/or are not issue-based, and/or have a tone of being “demeaning and disparaging”. They are accordingly “disrespectful and unconstructive”,” said Shapiro. 

“While these tweets were intended to make the DDSB an inclusive environment for all people, some of them did the opposite. Some of what was expressed ran contrary to the human rights of DDSB students, and some of it was misleading as to actual DDSB policy.”

The Integrity Commissioner’s rulings have yet to be ratified by the Board and are up for consideration later this week. 

Several other trustees also face censure, including Linda Stone, who spoke in support of parental rights.