David K Thomas & UCDSB Launch Lawsuit to Silence Principal Brown Swastika Story in Cornwall Ontario

David K Thomas & UCDSB Launch Lawsuit to Silence Principal Brown Swastika Story in Cornwall Ontario

David Thomas & Eva Olsson CCVS Nov 12 2013CORNWALL Ontario – That’s David K Thomas.   He runs the Upper Canada District School Board or UCDSB.

The world is a weird place.  I was always taught as a child that as long as you tell the truth everything works out.

In this case it seems that Mr. Thomas and his school board are issuing suit against myself and CFN. (although not against the Jewish Tribune which reprinted our original story)

It will be the first lawsuit against us in our history (CFN is now in its sixth year).

What has Mr. Thomas and his group of intolerant cohorts upset  is an incident that we covered that occurred at CCVS here in Cornwall, in what was the former Jewish section of the community.

Most of the Jewish “families” of Cornwall’s history have left the city of nearly 50,000 souls.  Jews have a rich history here in Cornwall.  The first mayor of Cornwall, a distant relative of my own from Romania, Aaron Horowitz, was Jewish.  Famous Toronto mayor Nathan Phillip’s family home is across the street from CCVS.

When I was first approached by the victim of this mess; a person who was attending a night activity at the school, I was surprised and shocked.

The complaint was simple.  There was some graffiti in not one, but two washrooms at the normally well attended high school.


swas photo a

(Actual swastika carved at CCVS: picture courtesy of victim’s ipod)

Swastikas; the most recognized symbol of hatred of the last 80 or so years.

Swastikas are also outlawed in some countries.  That’s right; use a Swastika and you could go to jail in some places.

So when this victim contacted the principal of the school, one Patricia Brown, they didn’t expect to see the same Swastikas again.

But that’s what happened, not once, but two  more times; one time in person.   Principal Brown is alleged to have made a joke even about not going into the boys washrooms herself.

At that time I attended to the school with him to verify.  I’m funny that way.  While I may not have a journalism degree I 100% agree in presenting facts as facts.     We were met by a vice principal and lo and behold the exact two Swastikas were there.

The VP was apologetic.  Two custodians, one apparently the main one, both stated that they didn’t know about them and hadn’t been told to remove them.

Within an hour the VP had called me and said that the issue was remedied.

Why hadn’t this been done when our victim asked Principal Brown?   So I wrote that in a story.   It was picked up in the Jewish Tribune even.

Was the school board’s reaction to apologize?  Was the Principal’s decision to apologize?   Nope.

Instead a holocaust victim was brought in to speak to the kids.   Was this scheduled or done as a reaction to our story?  I’m not sure?

What I do know is that Principal Brown had a chance to apologize and didn’t.    Nope.  Not a word as you can see in her speech at the event to those present.

She talks about character and leadership, but where was her own in admitting to the error of judgement that she clearly made?  She’s entrusted to protect the students; exposing them to hate symbols is surely a fail at that level, no?

She talks leadership in introducing David Thomas.  Where was his leadership in this event other than threatening me on the phone multiple times; from reporting me to Journalism agencies to issuing suit?

She herself mentions the two swastikas, one carved onto a wall, and one onto the wall of a washroom stall.  While I understand that there is an asbestos issue at the school which made solutions to one of the swastikas an issue; but surely there was no asbestos in the second.

She talks of feelings and heart; but what about the victim whose family members were murdered under the symbol of the Swastika or myself who nearly lost over half of my own family to WWII and the Nazi regime?   Do our feelings and hearts not count?

The issue was never the graffiti.  The issue was the indifference shown by Principal Patricia Brown that was only heightened by the abuse and threats that have now turned into a lawsuit by the head of the School board, Mr. Thomas.

Wynne MinimaxEven our Premier; Kathleen Wynne, whose office was contacted and asked if she supports Swastikas in a high school for a  month was contacted on the day of her issuing a release about the Holocaust.  She ducked the issue.

The Gas Chambers and horrors of World War II happened a long time ago.  There are less and less alive that were there to witness all that happened.  It wasn’t all death.  Racism is more than that.  Racism can be simple indifference and uncaring.  Canada is still a country that refused a boat load of people fleeing from certain death.

When I did my extensive research when I created “Herr Direktor” for what became the 2003 Best Documentary Oscar Nominated, Prisoner of Paradise, (with a first investment from Steven Spielberg no less)  I read and studied that time period intensely.  I read Josef Goebbels diary.  I saw how intolerance was used to whip up hatred.   Racism starts out from uncaring; it grows into indifference, and if unchecked can take us to many places most would never imagine going.

Mr. Thomas and his school board are spending tax dollars on this.   They are not really saying it didn’t occur or that Principal Brown is in the right.  They are really upset that we covered this story.   The other area media hid and didn’t cover it, probably for fears of losing the lush ad dollars spent by the UCDSB in this region.   And this was not an isolated incident.  There have been other issues at the school including some students showing up in “Black Face”.

The school board and their high priced Toronto lawyers simply want to silence the truth.   And they wish to do that on your dime.

Many people that I’ve talked to across the world are shaking their head watching this.    A few even suggested that CFN is a small independent newspaper that cannot possibly afford the cost of this lawsuit in Superior Court against a school board with the public’s limitless pockets?

They’re right.   I’m busy covering vet bills for my 13 year old dog.  She just had cancer surgery and now two more tumors have grown.   Can you imagine trying to decide to pay for lawyers or for treatment for your best friend in the world, or the rent?  It’s not easy  running a small business in Ontario!


I and CFN have defended a lot of people since our inception.  It’s something I’ve always been proud of.   As a matter of fact nowadays all I usually have to do locally is tell people when they bring me a real problem, is to tell them to relate to their party that if they don’t resolve their issue I’ll investigate and possibly write about it.   99% of the time the problems are solved including an incident of bullying this year at another UCDSB school.   That one had a happy ending with the two kids becoming friends.  No story was written.  The pay off was seeing a mom worried about threats of guns and knives dissipate and her child smile again.

When I was young I remember my grand-aunt.  She had numbers tattooed on her arm.   I have forever been haunted by the story of her losing her baby in the Auschwitz.   Or seeing pictures of family who were murdered during the war; or listening to my own grand-mother, who by chance was chosen to live with her sister in Canada because she was homesick.   My grand-mother lived because of that; but her brothers, sisters, and parents didn’t.

Ignoring intolerance and racism is like not treating a disease.  It grows.

Most likely I will be forced into some apology because of the weight of tax dollars and fancy Toronto lawyers because frankly I cannot fight this fight on my own.   I would if I could; but sadly I can’t.    Will the truth have won?   The easiest solution would have been for Principal Brown to apologize for her behavior.   The reasons why she refused to is why you are reading this.

She and her school board have refused to admit to that basic truth.    They are now spending blood money to hide their truth.

In 2014 do you find this acceptable?   I know I don’t.

If you wish to contact Mr. Thomas the phone number for him at the school board is 1 800 267 7131  ext. 1234 – his email is david.thomas@ucdsb.on.ca

I will not be appealing to the public for funds to help any legal costs.   I am hoping that a prominent lawyer will step forward and assist in this matter if the school board will not drop its suit and issue an apology to the original victim, myself, and to the public.

In this day and age every penny the school system gets should be spent on educating our children; not lawsuits like this.

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  1. jules

    Jamie it is an honor for you to be related to the former Mayor of Cornwall Mayor Horowitz. I mean that fully Jamie and he was the best mayor that Cornwall ever had and when he was finished Cornwall was never the same. About Anti Semetism it is on the rise and that is one of the things that I want to bring up to you and that is to be your upmost careful of with whom you are dealing with nowadays. I can write you a book or a journal of the things that I have read and won’t do that but you have to do the research on your own. I have been reading everything that I can get my hands on and things are not good at all. Yes the Jewish people left Cornwall and a very small few are left behind. The good memories that I have of Cornwall can never be erased. Today it is a nightmare and I cannot live in such a hateful society like what we have today. This Mr. Thomas is in the wrong and if he had good intentions none of this would have occurred as well as the principal Mrs. Brown. The responsibility rests on their shoulders. I am glad that the Jewish publication whatever it may be got hold of that story. Jamie you are more protected than what you think you are with the ADL and the other Jewish organizations. Even our PM Harpoon Harpo is on the side of the Jews. Write a letter to him and tell him all about what happened and you do have the stories and videos with you so as to send them all a copy. Yes the dog is your best friend and just this past Friday my husband and I patted one of those Golden Retrievers that belonged to a man walking him in a park. I thought about your animals and little Fitzy. You are in a much stronger position than what you know about so don’t fret too much. Cornwall has strings of terrible things that have happened over the years and it makes your column look like nothing at all ever happened. I would never send my children to school nowadays at all and it was bad enough in their day. I wish you the very best and be strong and contact those agencies including the PM.

  2. StopDrone/strikes

    I always find it amazing who when some people get a little bit of power it goes to their HEAD
    So this story is so terrible it requires a lawsuit come on David K surely you have something better to do with my tax dollars??

    Mr Jamie…I am NOT willing to let mayor kilger off the hook either…HIS office got notice WED of the event…surely to goodness somebody in his office could have handled getting somebody to the event…They sure KNOW how to order Cornwall Police to throw you out but can’t make it to the cenotaph??? Come on Bob you can come up with a better excuse that that…..”He added that a notification of the event from Lauzon’s office did arrive Wednesday afternoon, but only after he left for the day.”
    Now if we could only get mp guy lauzon to do more than show up for the event..and actually pressure his gov to truly help VETERANS..it would be nice..so far he is in hiding other than ribbon cutting events

  3. Simon

    If, as it appears, the UCDSB intends wasting money on this, then our household will be redirecting the education portion of our taxes to the Catholic District School Board.

  4. Christopher Cameron

    In my profession as a Registered Nurse I am blessed to meet many wonderful people from all walks of life.
    Many years ago when I was at the beginning of my career I had an elderly patient In my assignment who was obviously very nervous for an upcoming procedure.
    I have always made every attempt at finding common ground with my patients in the hope of developing a good relationship even though it may be only temporary .
    This elderly lady I noticed had numbers tattooed on inner aspect of RT wrist(I have meet several with such tattoo’s over my career) .My curiosity had me overcome my initial fear of asking the question as to why as I already knew the potential circumstance.
    The elderly women hesitant to answer initially and obviously with her upcoming procedure felt vulnerable and started to speak of the circumstances.
    She had been an orphan from one of the smaller concentration camps where she had lost most of her family.
    The conversation lasted a while as she felt the need to tell her story ,and I was more then interested in hearing of it.
    At the end of the conversation I asked why she has not had the tattoo removed , she said it was a reminder of what she endured and others like her.
    Her story has stayed with me and reinforced the spirit of survival and to what extent the depravity and indignity to which man will go when discrimination and hatred become societal.

  5. jules

    Chris I am in tears after seeing your blog and I too have seen the tattoos in Cornwall among some of the Jewish people who have survived those days. I had to stop typing trying to dry my tears since my keyboard is getting wet. I have known many good people in Cornwall with whom I will never forget and many have been through that kind of hell. Many don’t want to talk about it and would much prefer to forget about it. I will say this and it is hard to talk about this but anti semetism is on the rise among some people and people have to be educated about all of this hate. I liked that lady that was Hungarian Jewish who came to speak about her life in Europe under Hitler and his horrible gang. That lady had a lot of class in her and full of knowledge. We had a friend in Cornwall (Canadian) who told my husband and I that Canadians are racist and I think it was because my husband confided in him about some of the horrible racist slurs that he went though in Canada. Some of my teachers were Jewish when I lived in Cornwall and were the nicest people along with the Nymans and others. Not once have I ever experienced anything bad among the Jewish people and they were the best.

  6. Mary Anne Pankhurst

    This is such a sad story. A lawsuit instead of a simple apology to the person directly affected. And the sadness extends to Ms. Olssen. Were her personal experiences reduced because the victim’s experience was ignored? And finally the students. What has it taught them? Possibly: You don’t have to take responsibility for your actions or omissions in this life. If you’ve got money, you can wash it all away by putting the blame elsewhere.

    It’s not to late for an apology or to teach students – and adults – what leadership is all about. The suit against CFN and Jamie should be retracted.

  7. Tara Fox

    Instead of “getting ahead of it” and using this incident to publicly apologize, both the Director of Education and the Principal are taking shelter behind a lawsuit.

    It is pure intimidation with the goal of silencing their critics. They want this to go away quickly. It is highly embarrassing.

    This only confirms and supports the secret society that some school districts operate under.

    The best outcome would be for the respondent in the law suit to crowdsource a defense fund. The last thing the UCDSB wants is to have to explain their actions in court.

    Taking them through the process they initiated is the best way to stop their oppressive tactics. Sue them. Get their own students supporting you.


  8. Furtz

    I tend to agree with Tara Fox, but without knowing the exact words in the story that they consider actionable, it’s hard to say. Is the Jewish Tribune aware of the suit?

  9. Hailey Brown

    Where was there a victim in all this?

    Did anyone ever apologize for man made famine in the Ukraine from 1923 to 1933?

    7.5 to 10 million Ukrainian men women and children starved to death in the matter of one year.

    And we worry about some vandals 70 years after the newest tragedy carried out by man

  10. admin

    Hailey there are many issues in this world that should never have been condoned. What happened in Rwanda, Armenia, the Ukraine, even to Germans themselves after the war as millions were starved.

    IF more of us stood up to intolerance then and now the odds of these things happening would be diminished in my opinion. Not a single one is of more importance than the other (Except to those directly affected).

  11. admin

    At this time we cannot give out specifics of the legal action other than to say that they are disputing what we have published stating that what we have published in CFN and elsewhere is untrue. They are asking for an interlocutory order to have all of the content removed related to the story.

  12. Hailey Brown

    We DEFINITELY agree on that. Just leave everyone alone

    However I think today it is getting out of hand, the clinging on to the hatred from that time is not healthy. I mean why does Germany still pay for what happened. The people are long since gone as it the ability to ever justify that form of politics.

    Do you truly believe monetary fines will ever right the wrong, or is it mere financial exploitation.

    We have to consider other things such as Anti Semitism. No other religion, faith race or culture has that much power that an individual is unable to have an opinion on the validity of what is mentioned.

    I fear it will be their demise once again. People are getting fed up with hearing the same news every few months when media has nothing to write about.

  13. Mary Anne Pankhurst

    @ Hailey Brown. You asked if there was a victim.

    I see the primary victim as the person who was in the school and confronted by the hate symbol on more than once occasion. The same victim had further to deal a joke made by the principal about not being in the boy’s washroom.

    What if someone had etched on the wall “Whites Only”? It wouldn’t mean people hate Americans. (Since you mention Germany.) It means we, as a society and the high school as learning institution, have a responsibility not to inflict harm.

    I believe the principal should have immediately shown empathy. “Thank you for telling me about this, it will be remedied immediately. I am sorry you had to experience this in our school. We have zero tolerance for hate symbols.” Had that happened I really doubt the person would have sought assistance from media.

    And what is meant by: people are fed up with hearing the same stories because media has nothing to write about. Do you mean that people who have had violent atrocities committed against them are simply a bunch of whiners? If so, that would suggest everybody should stop paying attention to Remembrance Day and/or just forget about acknowledging 9/11 this September.

  14. Furtz

    @ Mary Anne Pankhurst. Or what if a nut-bar wrote “God hates fags”, as a certain local preacher keeps telling us. It would be no different. Hate is hate whether it’s inspired by an asinine religion, or by simple ignorance and good old xenophobia.

  15. Hailey Brown

    Mary Anne
    Please forgive my lack of understanding on the whole story. Maybe I am speaking out of turn.

    Is the victim a male and why would the principal address hem in such manner, and are you sure it was as it is written? In other words were you there or merely speculating from second hand information?

    If someone wrote “whites only” it would be no different to me than if they wrote “Blacks Only or gays only or no gays….I am a bigger person than those inscribing the walls and I am confident in my choices.
    I grew up in a German household in the late 50’s and I can associate with the slander and stupidity of other children. Nazi, Nazi slut, and many other colorful metaphors. When I asked my parents why this was done, all they told me was we had moved here to escape that life and the people here are merely farmers with no true idea of what really happened.

    Remember you are in a school with teenagers and a good portion of these individuals are merely testing limits. They see the Swastika as a sign f force by the very people who dislike it. In most if not all cases they lack the education and understanding of their actions. If you continue to sensationalize these issues it will continue.

  16. Hailey Brown

    I think if you only chose 11-11 to thank the vets you are a hypocrite just as weekend Catholics and seasonal worshippers are.

    Remembrance Day these are mundane yearly events and symbols of a false hope. Well that is unless you are in a school board or government, when it is another vacation day. If you truly cared for the lives lost for your lifestyle, why is our health care in such disarray, why is education so poor in Canada, Why are our seniors forgotten while government entities of all type able to have a sustainable and indexed pension paid for by us.

    Should we not be taking a stand as troops did for us?

    What people sick are of is the same story of the Jewish people being so bad off and the 6 million that died, which by the way is an incorrect statement. It is actually 6 Million displaced as many left and or were ushered out. The only reason that this treatment remains in the forefront as do words such as holocaust is simply a result of the, siltation needed here, The US General said when seeing the bodies in the camps, “ Film all of it” Otherwise the holocaust would be no different than the Holomodor killing 10 million, Inquisition killing millions again, or Belgium/Congo Free State up to 10 million, Zulu Kingdon toll range from 1 million to 2 million, Indigenous in America following Columbis landing estimates ranged from 8.4 million to 112.5 million.

  17. admin

    Hailey the issue isn’t the kids. Principal Brown isn’t a child. She’s entrusted in teaching our children and making sure the school has the best environment possible.

  18. Mary Anne Pankhurst

    @ Hailey, I’m sorry you got called terrible things because you grew up in a German household. I even had some friends as a kid who were German, who spoke German (but were also Jewish) and people called them Nazi too…not realizing they were also Jewish. And yes, many non-Jewish Germans suffered terribly during the war. Women, who as children, told me about being hidden in barns so they wouldn’t be raped when soldiers arrived in villages. Terrible things.

    But about the swastika story…No, I was not there to directly witness or hear what was said to the primary victim, but neither would I believe the facts are misrepresented by CFN. Why would they be? Even taking a photo of the swastika is an important component of the facts. Without the photo, people might say they don’t believe there was a swastika…that it was made up.

    I also realize kids may say or write all kinds of things…but that’s why it’s so important to educate them by leading by example. That’s what a principal, especially, should be thinking about.

    As far as empathy for the principal…I’m certainly have some. Leadership is not easy. All she had to say (or could still) is: after thinking deeply about this, I realize I made a mistake.

    She would only get praise for being sincere, honest and showing some humility. Lawsuits are not always the answer. They’re wars of sort.

  19. Mary Anne Pankhurst

    @ Hailey, not too sure what you mean by: Should we not be taking a stand as troops did for us?

    But think about it, troops don’t take a stand. They’re the pawns of war. It is part of the great empathy I have for soldiers. The grief. Soldiers have to do what they’re told. No choice. They witness humankind at its worst. They return home after wars, sometimes, many times, broken and bent, suffering, often silent.

    If you think Remembrance Day is an empty “holiday” think again. Think about the suffering of young soldiers who go off to hell, and those who don’t return.

    It can make one treasure the rare moments of peace and simple pleasures of life.

  20. jules

    I have no empathy at all for that principal {MODERATED}

    Jules please dim it down a few notches. We all know you’re not a huge fan of Cornwall. There still are a lot of good people here; and I was offered CASH to move CFN to Ottawa and refused. I’d pick Cornwall over O town any day. The problem with Cornwall is that the good people don’t have the testicular fortitude to stand up to the bad ones and bullies. It’s not unique, but here it’s the culture of Lumley…..

  21. jules

    Jamie people have to grow the balls and stand up to those dirt bags who do harm to good people. We have been more than sickened with all the abuse that we took and I see that you are taking your share as well and you have done nothing wrong at all. We have had racist slirs like you wouldn’t believe and it went well past what I wrote. Never ever again would I live in such an environment because I would go completely nuts to put up with any more of that.

  22. jules

    Jamie there was an article on yahoo today (I think this evening) about the different countries on anti-Semitism and they made a survey about those who are the most anti semetic and of course that was the Middle East that is without question. Anyway they mentioned that people who are 35 and under do not know about the Holocaust and believe me Jamie the education system is in the toilet. People can opt out of history and other subjects and they know nothing today. The principal of CCVS should have known better along with the head of the school board since they are over 35 and knew all about this stuff. Arabs are semetic as well and they discriminated so much against us as well. Jamie there was a Jewish family who had a grocery store in Cornwall by the name of Bronstein back in the 50’s era and maybe before that as well and mom used to buy from them as well as from old Mel Hollister. I was wondering if you ever heard of the Bronsteins in Cornwall. I don’t know if I spelled that name right.

  23. Hailey Brown

    Thank You Mary Anne, but the taunts at that time only made me a little more tolerant of others. My dual nationality gives me a much larger perspective and access to events as well as understanding the cultures. That is why I have some issues with this new bullying fad happening…

    Regarding the troops, it is much farther back in time than our PM sending them to war as pawns.
    These people actually volunteered to join, so yes the choice was theirs we do not have conscription or a draft.

    But yes I do agree they are pawns now.

    However at the time I am referring to they apparently went to save us from Tyranny. They stood in front of said Tyranny and simply halted its advance.

    Do you ever see a civilian take such a stand against government here in Canada? never, we simply allow our democratic version of tyranny abuse its power.

    So to have troops fight to make Canada great and have it’s people cower in their homes from our own version of Tyranny, yes I believe remembrance day is a empty holiday. The troops died for no reason and celebrating that is a mockery.

    It is not the governments fault it is the peoples fault

  24. Hailey Brown

    The culture of Lumley, who said that omg it is hilarious. Lumley has done more for Cornwall than anyone else since Horvitz.
    He put his career on the line for the Navcan center
    He refused to stop his campaign just because the Queen was coming over, probably not his best choice considering at that time empire loyalists still though that monarchy was some form of credible infrastructure.
    He was the leader in development of the industrial park.
    Just to name a few, he also busted the old boys club by defeating Kaneb and tossing dead weight by the road.
    His demise was brought about by the method in acquiring NavCan losing support from above for the city and local old boys club creating low levels of turmoil within the city.
    People are finally growing balls Jules and taking a stand on the anti-Semitic nonsense. I mean honestly if I chose to think the accounts of the so called Holocaust are in accurate it is my opinion. By what dictatorship can they call that anti-Semitic? Perhaps they learned well from the political regime they so feared.

  25. David Oldham

    Hailey…does it bother you that employment ads in Ontario are now worded “french only need apply”? Would it be different if the ads read, “english only need apply? Or whites only or natural born Canadians? Regardless of who or how many are being discriminated against or subject to hate the principal remains the same and cannot go unanswered. Yes,no?

  26. Furtz

    David, could you please post a link to where we can view some of those “french only need apply” ads? I’m curious to see them. I’m old enough to remember newspaper ads that stated “Christians only”, “Jews need not apply” and “whites only”, but that’s probably before you were born.

  27. Hugger1

    I clearly remember when I worked in the federal PS that competitions were worded in such a way as to weed out average white males.

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