Halton's helping hands for Haiti

{mosimage}BURLINGTON, Ont. - The children at St. Mark’s Catholic Elementary School learned a lesson about social justice and Christian love recently. It was that they should share from their abundance with their much poorer fellow students in Haiti.

The school was one of 49 in the Halton Catholic District School Board that are being introduced this fall to Helping Hands from Halton Catholic: the Solidarity-Haiti Project.

Campus pro-life battles are about free speech

{mosimage}TORONTO - Tensions on Canadian university campuses have intensified this year as pro-life clubs continued fighting for status while others were denied funding.

Yet, while only half a dozen of the 40 or more pro-life clubs on campuses across Canada have butted heads with their student unions, many are worried that the silencing of pro-life speech has expanded to a threat against freedom of speech in general.

Trustees call for changes in special ed funding

TORONTO - The underfunding of programs for special education and high needs students as well as “short-lived” declining enrolment grants are serious concerns for many Catholic school boards, says the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association.

In a Nov. 18 financial brief to Ontario Education Minister Kathleen Wynne, the association said while special education grants total almost $2.1 billion, many school boards “continue to express serious concerns about the ongoing gap between the cost of current programs and services for students and special needs and current funding levels.”

OECTA targets bullying

{mosimage}TORONTO - Bullying should be labelled a workplace hazard to make schools safer, says a proposal made to provincial legislators by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association.

But the proposal isn’t suggesting that Catholic schools are more dangerous than any other workplace, said Elaine MacNeil, president of OECTA.

Calgary Pro-life defies university

{mosimage}CALGARY - Despite being threatened with arrest, suspension and even expulsion by school officials, members of Campus Pro-life at the University of Calgary erected the controversial Genocide Awareness Project display outside the university on Nov. 26 and 27.  

The university’s stance against the controversial display was that the GAP display “would likely trigger acts of violence” and that by refusing to comply with the university, the pro-life group was trespassing on private property, said lawyer Paul Beke in a letter to CPL. The GAP campaign shows graphic images of the results of abortion, as well as pictures of the development of a fetus.

At a Nov. 26 press conference, Leah Hallman, president of CPL, said: “Arrest us, charge us, expel us, do what you want with these bodies of ours, but for every pro-lifer who suffers for the cause, perhaps, just perhaps, another life will be born into this world.”

No charges pending against Catholic trustees

{mosimage}TORONTO - Ontario's education minister says a 15-day police review into Toronto Catholic school trustee expenditures concluded that no trustees will face criminal charges.

Kathleen Wynne told The Catholic Register she's satisfied with the amount of time it took police to review trustees' expenses, which were released in a Nov. 12 audit report by Ernst & Young.

Parents fight to save Arrowsmith program

{mosimage}TORONTO - A pioneering $1-million program which has helped students correct their learning disabilities could soon fall under the budget axe at the Toronto Catholic District School Board, some parents with children in the program fear.

Evette and Clint Harder say they fear that the board will drop the Arrowsmith program at seven Toronto Catholic schools. Their eight-year-old daughter, Paige, is one of about 65 students enrolled in the program.

EcoSchools puts learning into action

PICKERING, Ont. - Surrounded by her classmates, nine-year-old Zeina Abu-Jurja recites some of her “environmental pet peeves.”

One pet peeve, she said, is when the television is on even if no one is watching because it’s an energy waster.

Police to investigate trustee expenses

{mosimage}TORONTO - Embattled Toronto Catholic school trustees will remain with the board until their term ends in 2010, unless they are convicted of an indictable offence after a police investigation into trustee spending practices, says Ontario Education Minister Kathleen Wynne.

Alcohol, Internet gaming and personalized vehicle licence plates were some of the $30,000 worth of questionable expenses charged to taxpayers by Toronto Catholic District School Board trustees, according to a Nov. 12 audit report.

Toronto trustees forced to repay questionable expenses

{mosimage}TORONTO - Alcoholic drinks, Internet gaming and personalized vehicle licence plates were some of the $30,000 worth of questionable expenses charged to taxpayers by Toronto Catholic District School Board trustees, according to a Nov. 12 audit report.

The report by Ernst & Young, which did not identify trustees by name, said $914,013 of the $943,783 in trustees' total expenses from Dec. 1, 2005, to May 28, 2008, were deemed eligible. Eligible expenses included Internet connection charges, office furniture, charitable donations and advertising expenses, the report said.

Theology matters

{mosimage}TORONTO - Theology students have an important role to play in a society that continues to advocate relativism, Professor Edward J. Monahan told graduating students from the University of St. Michael’s College at its Nov. 8 convocation.

Monahan  and two other professors — William J. Smyth and Janine Langan — were awarded with honorary doctorates, the Doctor of Sacred Letters.