Cornwall ONTARIO – What a bewildering community I live in. After covering Swastikas being left in a school washroom for nearly a month after repeatedly being informed about them this writer covered the issue; which led to thousands of tax dollars being spent by the Upper Canada District School Board essentially trying to muzzle the story.
Their main issue was my opinion that the principal in question at the time, Trish Brown, was in my opinion a racist for leaving them up. Legal minds have explained to me that in a court of law it might be difficult proving such an opinion which led to those stories being muzzled after a $75K lawsuit landed at my door from the school board. Apparently in Canada Free speech and your opinion could get you in a lot of trouble in some of our courts, especially in this part of Ontario?
In the meanwhile York U in Toronto called in the police over swastikas on its campus and now a Catholic school in nearby Brockville has done the same after swastikas and hate language were discovered.
Brockville police reported Wednesday that swastikas and other anti-Semitic imagery has shown up in vandalism committed at J.L. Jordan Catholic School, on First Avenue in Brockville, three times this month.
“The number of times we’ve seen them here is a heck of a lot more unusual, yes,” he said, but added “we’re assuming it’s youth by the nature of the graffiti.”
Yet when Principal Brown was contacted by an adult who’d lost family in the holocaust, not once but three times(twice by phone and once in person) and didn’t have them removed what would you call that? So maybe racism isn’t the correct legal term in a court of law in Eastern Ontario? Maybe I was wrong for using the term racist?
Shortly after the story broke the community lost someone that was working with the only Jewish group in the community. They left Cornwall not wanting to live in the community any longer.
Anita Bromberg who was legal counsel for Bnai Brith at the time had given us a comment for publication regarding the incident at CCVS.
“The fact that the chief school administrator failed to act, especially after the matter was brought to her direct attention, is in breach of the Zero Tolerance policy that should have guided her..That she would allow these images of hate to remain, and therefore be etched in the minds of her students, is simply unacceptable..Perhaps it would be appropriate for school board administrators to reinforce what a Zero Tolerance policy actually means?.Hopefully because of the dedication of a member of the public school officials and supervisors will do the right thing.”
The Upper Canada District School Board didn’t address the issue publicly. They brought in a speaker and allowed Principal Brown to address the crowd, but instead of taking a tiny moment to apologize she simply introduced the speaker.