Kevin Welbes GodinMISSISSAUGA, Ont. - A “courageous conversation” needs to happen at Ontario’s Catholic schools to combat homophobia as boards implement the provincial government’s new equity policy, says a prominent educator.

Kevin Welbes Godin told a symposium that “silence is no longer acceptable” when it comes to the absence of anti-homophobia policies in some Ontario Catholic boards.

But other comments during the workshop upset some teachers who said Welbes Godin and co-presenter David Szollosy were misinterpreting the position of the Ontario bishops and that their views on gay support groups were not in keeping with Church teaching.

School board trustee acclamations down across Ontario

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OCSTA logoTORONTO - Close to 40 per cent of the 230 seats for Catholic school trustee across Ontario have been filled by acclamation.

But the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association says this represents a drop in acclamations — down from 45 per cent in 2006 to 37 per cent this year — and is a potential silver lining to what’s happened at the Toronto Catholic District School Board.

Nancy Kirby, the association’s president, told The Catholic Register that the drop in acclamations is encouraging and may have been sparked by the events at the Toronto Catholic board.

Toronto trustees stand on their records, react to 'unfair' smear from parents' group

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TCDSB LogoTORONTO - It's “unfair” and “irresponsible” for a Toronto Catholic parent group to ask electors to vote for anyone but the incumbents in the Oct. 25 election for Catholic school trustees, say some of Toronto's sitting trustees running for re-election.

The Greater Toronto Catholic Parent Network made the call Oct. 12 for voters to oust the trustees who sat on the board for the last four years. The board has been under provincial supervision for more than two years after their refusal to balance the board budget as provincial legislation demands and trustee spending scandals came to light.  

Censorship claims mar Toronto candidate meetings

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Angela KennedyTORONTO - Two Catholic education organizations are voicing criticism of election candidate meetings for school trustees that, they claim, are tightly controlled sessions that offer little opportunity for debate or direct questioning of candidates.

Penny Boyce-Chester of the Greater Toronto Catholic Parent Network attended the Oct. 6 meeting for Ward 8 at Cardinal Leger High School in Scarborough.

“This is a very censored meeting,” she charged. “The moderator decided which two questions he was going to ask from the box and his interpretation of how he was going to word these questions. That really bothered me.

A litany of Toronto trustee indiscretions

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TCDSB logoTORONTO - Two Toronto Catholic trustees have been removed from the board, another could soon follow and many others have been embroiled in a spending scandal that has engulfed the Toronto board for almost three years. Below is a timeline of the major events.

Dec. 2007: Catherine LeBlanc-Miller is acclaimed board chair and, following several media reports about trustee misspending, she asks the provincial government to examine trustee expenses.

Anyone but incumbents, Toronto voters urged

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Catholics United for a Responsible BallotTORONTO - A newly formed group of retired principals and educators is urging Toronto Catholics to vote the current crop of trustees out of office. They want voters to cast ballots for anyone but the incumbents.

At an Oct. 12 press conference following noon Mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral, Bob Dixon, chair of Catholics United for a Responsible Ballot, called for a clean sweep of the scandal-plagued board.

Toronto School Board scandal questions not welcome

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TCDSB logoTORONTO - For the 50 people attending Ward 11’s first all-candidates Catholic school trustee meeting, it should have been an opportunity to hear ouseted former trustee Angela Kennedy explain why a judge removed her from office, why trustees were forced to repay almost $30,000 after audits revealed spending irregularities and why the Toronto board is operating under provincial supervision.  

But Kennedy, who was found guilty of conflict-of-interest two months ago and removed from her seat as trustee and board chair of the Toronto Catholic District School Board, sidestepped discussion about her removal and the events which contributed to it. Particularly frustrating for many in attendance, the format of the event made it easy for her to do so.

Brother André students to attend canonization

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 Brother André HighMARKHAM, Ont. - Select students and staff at Brother André Catholic High School in Markham, Ont., will be celebrating the canonization of their school’s namesake in a special way — by being in the immediate audience close to the Pope at the ceremony in Rome on Oct. 17.

On Oct. 10, 18 students from the school will be flying to Italy for a week, along with a couple of staff members and family members, said principal Jim Nicoletti.

“Back in February, when the announcement was made, we were honoured to hear it as a school and we were thrilled,” he said. “We did a little research only to find out that we believe we’re the only high school that’s named Brother André in the province.”

Upcoming trustee election offers chance to restore credibility to Catholic education

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TORONTO - The head of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) is concerned about the upcoming trustee elections in the Toronto Catholic board because he says misconduct at one board can affect the credibility and reputation of all Ontario trustees.

“From a provincial perspective, Toronto Catholic board is like the flagship of the fleet,” said OECTA president James Ryan. “It’s the largest Catholic board in Canada and having good governance in the Toronto board is prominent in the minds, not just of every Catholic teacher in Toronto, but across Ontario.”  

Toronto board looks at new school options

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TCDSB LogoTORONTO - The Toronto Catholic District School Board is looking at opening its first Kindergarten to Grade 12 school.

Angela Gauthier, the board’s associate director of academic affairs, said the proposed school bringing together students in Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 would feature “an innovative program to help us implement a 21st-century approach to education” and could be in place within three years.