CCVS Principal Patricia Brown Ignored Requests to Remove Swastikas In Boys Washrooms – Why? by Jamie Gilcig

swas photo aCornwall Ontario – Such a simple act.  Someone etches a swastika on a wall.   It’s just an image and we have to apologize for the poor quality of the photo taken with an iPod in poor bathroom lighting; but imagine if you’re from a family of holocaust survivors and you see that image while in a washroom after work in of all places…..a school.

It’s not the end of the world; so you go to another washroom, one right next to a library, and lo and behold there it is again.

You’re a mature professional adult so you finish your activity and decide to give the principal of the school a call.

She says the right things; but sure enough when you come back the next week there are the same two Swastikas.

The question then is how many young minds have been exposed to those symbols of hate during the week that has passed by?   But you’re busy and it’s only graffiti in a school washroom, right?   The principal probably forgot, right?

Another phone call.  A joke about how she doesn’t go into  boys bathrooms and the next time you return, there they are again.

So you make a visit.  Words are exchanged; nothing heated, nothing nasty,  all polite and then you come back again and there are those same swastikas staring at you from their places on the walls.

The question that has to be asked of CCVS Principal Patricia Brown is why she didn’t resolve the issue in the manner that Vice Principal Jason Wagensveld did today when the member of the public and I visited the school this morning.  Maintenance staff present stated that they had received no notice or request to remove the Swastikas from the principal previously and were surprised themselves finding them.

The swastikas were still there.   Mr. Wagensveld took matters in hand and within hours had called me to share that they were gone.  He also ensured that the other washrooms would be inspected.   The school during my visit this time, as in the past has always been clean and a credit to the Maintenance staff including the person they employ to remove graffiti.

We emailed Principal Brown, but she did not respond.   I phoned the Upper Canada District School board and heard back from a trustee who identified herself as Valerie via phone.   She refused to provide a written statement.  She cited employee confidentiality in relation to Principal Brown and suggested an anti-racism day at the School; but frankly this school isn’t the issue, nor are the kids.

The sole issue is why did Principal Patricia Brown apparently ignore multiple notifications of the greatest symbol of hate of the 20th Century being exposed to her students?

Anita Bromberg, National Director, Legal Affairs of Bnai Brith sent in the following statement;

“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 School board and Ms Brown are welcome to submit a post statement or post in the comments section below.
Surely in 2013 there is no room for racism of any kind in our schools against any group.   Surely the school board cares deeply about the actions that someone entrusted to the role of Principal takes.  And surely the reaction should have been like that of Vice Principal Wagensveld and not that of Principal Patricia Brown?
What do you think CFN viewers?  You may post your comments below.

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  1. It might be a good idea to spend your weekend doing some homework learning about the 2nd World War and the horror of the gas chambers Principle Brown.

  2. The sign of the Swastika used to be used by the native Indians of Canada and the US as a good luck symbol. It was used on pottery and on tents. It was used in India as well. Hitler was in the secret society called the Thule Society and somehow he picked it up for his Nazi (National Socialism) symbol and he wanted a pure race and he didn’t just execute the Jews but also the Gypsies among others. I do know the history and won’t go into it here since it is a symbol that was horrifying to those who experienced the hell under Hitler. I know the truth but will not disclose it. Whoever did this should be cleaning the walls and doing volunteer work cleaning the streets in Cornwall, cleaning the floors at the school, and learning about what Hitler did during WWII which was mighty despicable indeed. That symbol is also in one of my quilting books and most will not even touch it with a ten foot pole nor would I. People need to learn valuable lessons in life and it is long past the days when discipline should be used.

  3. About 2-years ago at a prom at an American high school, the lady principal decided to do a “thong check” to ensure that the young ladies were appropriately attired . . . some girls complained that the thong check amounted to “a peek show” as boys could clearly see as to what transpired. Offending girls were sent home to change. The local news media had a field day . . . no more thong checks. Several years ago at a private high school, girls’ winter school uniforms included knee-length navy blue skirts, black shoes and 40-denier black nylons . . . anything less than 40-denier resulted in girls being sent home to change.

    Now the idea of a lady principal entering boys wash-rooms would create an uproar . . . its the head custodian and the custodial staff who have to remove graffiti whenever it appears on bathroom walls. Perhaps school bathroom walls require a teflon coating that eases the job of removing graffiti.

  4. 2 problems, the principals inaction, and maintenance staff needing a work order to perform a clean up.

    Jules, for someone who has been told that your husbands term “Fossoli” was an internment camp, and used it again last week, your history knowledge is telling. Oh, and I started reading every 10th word of your posts.

  5. Kudos Jamie Gilcig!!! My Inuit daughter has been attending the Upper Canada District School Board for the padt three consecutive school years, and is now in attendance at CCVS. She has received constant ridicule and has been the target of harassment simply because of the color of her skin. At three different schools and now is the victim of bullying
    .. what I call targeted harassment. We attended the introduction to CCVS last year and there was another principle there who declared that there is a zero tolerance policy concerning bullying. ZERO TOLERANCE???? PLEASE!!! These members of the majority race fling around whatever words they want that will make them look better to the public and feel better about themselves. My daughter can’t be alone….she comes home in tears…. and aside feom the only administrators who effectively thought out the issue and resolved it with patience communication and ACTION, as far as I am concerned, patricia Brown is a shing example of what 90% of the staff of ucdsb represent. Self serving teachers afraid to speak up, or are just too lazy and selfish to speak up and be good role models. I have to say that, having said that, Kieran Kennedy and Mr. Beck have been OUTSTANDING. My daughter or any of the children under Ms. Browns authority are of no concern to this woman. I have walked into CCVS and had not even a smile fron secretaries, V.P’s or this woman. I am disgusted at her demeanor and her lack of action, her unapproachable manner and her boards willingness to cover for her. Just a devils advocation here… but perhaps the swastika is a sign of things to come. I wonder ifbpeople actually realize that these teachers and adminiatration are paid with public government funding and asbparents we DO have a say…if not for anything beside the simple fact that we are taxpayers
    Thank you for not being afraid to stand up and right legitimate stories.

  6. Author

    Holly thank you for standing up too. Many times we cover a story because of the things we hear people talking about. When we cover them people still hide for fear of repercussions. It’s not that I’m not afraid. Our company suffers greatly as can be seen by the boycott including from this school board.

    Frankly I was very very disappointed by the way the “School board” has handled this. There is one very clear route to take. Ms Brown needs to be at least temporarily removed from her position. Perhaps counseled and then maybe work her way back to earning the trust that her position needs.

    There should have immediately been a statement of apology to the community and to the person that tried three times to have the swastikas removed.

    But we should not tarnish a school and community. If the School Board was smarter they could really turn a horrible decision process by one Principal into something positive. Also, their lead should embolden people to stand up for issues like this and not be afraid of repercussions.

    People reacting to differences in each other is normal. It’s the actions that are the difference between racism or bullying or simply people being people.

    The fact that CCVS is in the former Jewish part of town and this principal not reacting in the same manner as VP Wagensveld is haunting in the bigger picture.

    Sadly so far I don’t see that happening.

    There also is the fact that people shouldn’t need to go to the media for help when addressing issues like this. The political culture in our city needs to change and if it means taking away the toys and some people losing their positions then that’s what needs to happen.

    We need to build strong morally healthy adults so we can have a strong morally healthy community.

  7. As you know Jamie, I am the proud owner of three breeding Jews, my wife and two daughters. We think this is “much ado about nothing”. The kids are being stupid and the principal has other things to do. And there was no Jewish part of town (ghetto) in Cornwall. The chosen people were welcomed to the community as all others cultures have been and thrived, then left.
    I have issue with this Holly woman. Why bring an identifiable minority to Cornwall?
    And Jules is {MODERATED}

  8. Author

    420 did you threaten to take away their Kugle if they didn’t answer the way you wanted? Threaten to make them eat bacon? 🙂

  9. Why temporarily remove this incompetent administrator for failing to do her job? Why hold her accountable for lacking the general ability and skill set necessary for her to perform her duties as Principal? Next, people will be expecting that school administrators be accountable for serving as role models for the student body. The community will demand that school administrators act like professionals and the outrage will go on and on perhaps for at least a day, maybe two.

    We are Canadian, surely Principal Patricia Brown can manufacture an excuse for her (in)actions so that everybody can simply sigh, forgive and quickly forget that she should not be in the position at all. The Mayor is not held accountable, council members get a free pass from this community so why on God’s green earth should we hold Patricia Brown’s feet to the coals ? Apathetic, mediocrity, resignation. Someone should stand up for what is right ! But no one will because we are CANADIAN .

  10. as much as i agree the principal failed to do her job but where was the cleaning staff,do they not do a check of the bathrooms nightly?the bathrooms are used daily so they must be cleaned the same,kids are kids and as longs as there has been a school students think its cute to grafiti on walls with what ever is on hand .you make sure the face of the schools are clean and free of graffiti do the same for where our students are everyday on the ind side. they both failed everyone in the school ,no bullying means no bullying even with words or graffiti on walls ,

  11. The bathrooms are supposed to be checked on a nightly basis, and upon seeing that graffiti, any self-respecting custodian would have removed it without any prompting….however, it wouldn’t stop a pain in the ass, vulgar, full of hate & attitude teenager from drawing another one.

  12. Author

    You’re right Colleen, but most teenagers have some of that in them…all those hormones, rebellion, angst….etc. Bottom line is Ms Brown’s actions.

  13. Eric it wasn’t my husband’s term “Fossoli” but it was another person who mentioned it here on CFN and I happened to see it and picked it up saying good now I have another name for Cornwall “Fossoli” so Eric my husband has absolutely nothing to do with this term Fossoli at all whatsoever. It is mine all mine now. It was someone else who came on and had a good laugh and named it that and I picked it up. Fossoli it is. LOL LOL. ROLF!

  14. “Holly Jarrett” I am deeply sorry for what your daughter is going through at CCVS and I too am a product of such humiliation in my youth and so have my children experienced that both in Ottawa as well as in Cornwall. When my children finished school in Cornwall my husband and I said to the teachers of both schools “Thank God that we do not have any more children in your schools” and we meant that. One very nice Syrian woman here in Ottawa had a very hard time with the school that her son was attending and Ottawa is very inner city and full of immigrants of all sort as well as Canadians and her son was picked on and she literally took him to the suburb of Orleans to go to school since it was intolerable. Today young people have absolutely no morals and no upbringing of any sort and I say it every single day of my life and God as my witness that I hate to see the younger children grow up when the older ones are finished in this society. I hope to God as my witness that I do not survive to see what is yet to come and I don’t want any of my immediate family to survive for what is coming. I didn’t want to go into it here and Jamie is a good man but what you said about the “swasstica” being something that is coming is absolutely true indeed. I follow things every single day and if I were to tell you and all what is coming nobody here would sleep a wink at all for life. Yes Holly it is coming and much worse than I can tell you. The Bible is right and if you get a chance read it especially in the Book of Daniel but you have to really know how to interpret it and it is all over the net anyway.

  15. What is it Jamie taking away my “Baba Ganoush” and throwing bacon at me. You know very well that we are a Christian Maronite family and as for other groups of religions and races we are people and we are all God’s people and there is nobody chosen.

    That was a mighty huge insult that 420 gave to Holly and it is something that I will remember this for life. Cornwall is mighty racist and I swear to you on both the Christian Bibles that I have here that I would never ever live in Cornwall for as long as I live. Cornwall has never been a good place at all for me to live in and I know very well what bullying is all about since I lived through it all and so have some good people and never again have they ever gone back there to live.

  16. Author

    A reminder to all to please stay on topic and not attack each other. And no totem posting either.

  17. The little vandal(s) had no inkling what a swastika represents, and it was no more than an urge to be rebellious.

    If anyone were really, really concerned about the offensive etching, they could have added a little more etching to make it look like a child’s rendering of a window …tada! I’ve done that before; there’s no unwanted attention, and no harm done to anybody. And it gets painted over at the end of the year.

    Making a big deal out of a senseless and largely unnoticed act, only gives traction to this silliness.

  18. Author

    Simon nobody was making a big deal. The VP handled it perfectly. The only deal at play was why the Principal chose to ignore the issue. Btw, like your solution 🙂

  19. Hey Jules. Give your head a shake. My point is that people should have foresight into the consequences of their actions. I have friends who bought two Eskimo boys with ADD and they have to deal with it as well.

  20. also work in a public institution for the past 25 yrs where we have a Zero Tolerance of Race, color, creed etc., and the Privacy Act and Confidentially the whole nine yards and then some. If anyone of us, including senior admin violated and ignored this simple request made to you Mrs Brown on two occasions, no drama needed all you had to do was submit a work order to the cleaning staff and have it removed from the walls. Instead you choose to disobeyed this simple easy solution to correct what is wrong and make it right. At my place of employment our sorry asses would be escorted to the sidewalk with a pink slip for being nominated as a leader, to protect, honor, serve and guide our children with education and knowledge so they go to school and study and choose college or universities to embark on their careers choices in the future. Your are entrusted with the responsibility to take care of our kids and show them a better way to head off into the new world of tomorrow where there is no hate against other nationalities or obnoxious emblems. Mrs Brown you chose to ignore and not obey The Zero Tolerance Policy which is part of the schools contract and agreement with you and probably part of you mighty collective agreement. Further more the School Board who governs you to be a Principal are irresponsible in executing and implementing their duties of respect for those students whose families and generations past were afflicted by the HALLOCAUST, least we forget. Mrs Brown you were put on notice of how offensive it was and still allowed this toxic poisonous graffiti to remain on the walls of the boys/men’s wash room. How unprofessional is that….SHAME on you Patricia Brown, you need a sabbatical and sent home to read and study the Holocaust, WWI, Anne Frank and review the hell and the torture HILTER did to eradicate millions of ppl in many small counties and make the German people supreme and Superior for his race. DID you know that Hitler’s own personal physician diagnosed him as manic depressive? ? Did you know that Hitler had diagnosable mental illnesses that progressed rapidly during the war? He was aware of his “twitching-hand problem” that he attempted to conceal later in his life. Mrs. Brown did u know there is a great deal of speculation that Hitler had the onset of Parkinson’s disease ? From what nervous disorder did he suffer? Were these illnesses a result, in any degree, from intake of mustard gas he was exposed himself to while fighting in WW1. His health issues are still the subject of an enormous amount of speculation, debate, and both academic (historical, psychological, political) and medical. Mrs Brown you are so blessed and lucky that one of those survivors of the holocaust is not a relative of yours or your extended family. But now they are all tarnished with being related to the Principal that allowed mental abuse in her school and ignored, and instead let it stay on the wall to be offensive to other students and staff. You and you only Patricia Brown are disgrace to the Human Race. In the leadership role of your responsibility of guiding the children, young and older with impressionable minds allowed seeds of hatred to remain on the wall. Rather then making all the drama you and you alone created by your act of neglect and ignorance. Not only have u shamed your school and your students you have inflected hurt and pain to many more in your circle of life. Its a vicious circle now because all of Cornwall knows who u r and who your family is and what u represent to the students, parents and ppl. You and you alone allowed with ur own sound mind and judgment on such a controversial issue to go on. All you had to do was designate and delegate ur cleaning staff to simply wash the offensive signage of the wall. And as for the School Board and the Union protecting your sorry ass they need to be investigated into why they are afraid to conduct an investigation into your behavior and how badly you dealt with this. The School needs to have the Superintendent of the school confront the media , apologize and deal with your belligerent behavior to and in the auditorium you need to apologize to every student in that school and the media and the people who read this article of good reporting of what bad erogant people that are high and mighty like you seem to think u are above the law and untouchable. Well to the parents, students, holocaust survivor’s and families afflicted by this disgraceful act. Do you really think you can get away with if so, double SHAME ON YOU. You may want to know why I am furious about this issue. I am and old woman now and I lived in times when I had to take the hurt and pain because of my blood line is part First Nations, French, English, German, ad Dutch. I lived thru the hurt, pain and redicule for many years. I walked the walk of being made to feel ashamed and abused by ignorant people until I found the courage and guts to speak up and speak out on minorities and especially my years living in Montreal for 18 yrs and hearing and seeing the obscenities and attacks on the Jewish population is a totally atrocity and injustice to them and their ancestors. These children/students that are of Jewish desent are the off springs of the living surviors of the horrific holocaust and the pioneers of tomorrow and they hold the future in their hands. I also speak for all minorities of new immigrants to our country, God Bless.

  21. I have a simple solution for this problem that will actually create jobs.

    Hire more maintenance staff to clean or repair graffiti and vandalism.
    The provincial government has cut school support staff funding over the years and the results
    are under staff, over burden school board employees.

    To pay for this, start charging all outside groups that use the schools facilities.
    The schools are continously being used by organizations who don’t pay a dime to use the buildings.
    So our taxes pay to heat or air condition these large buildings, lighting,wear and tear
    cleaning etc…

    The results would be a cleaner, friendly school for our children and job creation.

  22. Hiring more people is not an answer to this problem it is a reaction to the situation. The answer is simple if the benefit of the doubt goes to the history departments and the schools actively engage in remembrance day activities. If education includes studying about war atrocities, effects of racism and hate crimes in general then the incident that we read about is one of relatively few. Ignorance most likely led to the graffiti on the wall but the real issue here is the inability of Principal Patricia Brown to carry out her duties.

    I do not feel that outside groups should necessarily pay a rental fee. The buildings all technically belong to all taxpayers so paying a fee would be like paying rent for the home that you pay the mortgage on. However any group wishing to use the facilities should be able to provide a deposit sufficient to cover costs if they leave the area used in a lesser manner.

    This would lessen the burden on the average taxpayer and place the costs directly in the hands of those truly responsible. We should be promoting greater use of these institutional facilities, they represent a significant cost and could be better utilized by the community.

    I do not advocate the discipline of Principal Patricia Brown. Incompetence needs to be replaced with competence. We need to stop making excuses for ourselves and start being accountable. We all need to be better role models for the youth otherwise our senior years could be a living hell !

  23. Hiring more staff would improve the appearance of the school and perhaps create a better learning environment. Teaching our children to become good adults begins at home,
    unfortunately alot of parents are not fit to raise children themselves.

    The schools should charge a user fee for outside organizations, I own a house, paid the mortgage but I
    still have to pay property tax, water tax, gas to heat, electricity for lights and so on. My point is we do all own these buildings in a way, but who pays for all the extra expenses.

  24. Author

    Diane the school looks fine and was quite clean when I was there. There is only one issue and question; why the principal behaved this way in this situation?

  25. Mr. Wagensveld, A+

    Ms. Brown, FAILURE

  26. I agree with Mr. Oldman that hiring more staff is not the answer but education is the answer. I wish to God that those holocaust survivors were alive today to teach the students what they went through.

    I am married to a Lebanese Christian Maronite (Eastern Catholic Church) and this affects me and would affect people who are Jews even more so. I am so mighty upset over this that I cannot even think of anything else. I am trembling for what is to come in the future when people are acting like this. There is absolutely no excuse for any of this to ever happen again.

  27. Mrs brown {MODERATED} at the school board..I found that out with having to deal with her and the lies back at tagwi

  28. An inspired school administrator might have chosen to seize on the ill-advised gesture and use it to illustrate an important life lesson. I guess things haven’t changed at ol’ CC much since I passed through. I remember a staff of mostly effete teachers going through the motions – a very uninspired place. When a troubled student didn’t show the required level of dilligence, instead of showing concern or compassion the teachers mostly chose to punish. Of course many of the underachievers had problems at home or were struggling with emotional issues. I witnessed zero compassion for these unfortunates.
    There were also some empathetic and engaged teachers and those few I will always remember with great affection and respect.

  29. Let set the record straight here, so listen up…..the first time the symbol was put up, it was moved immediately. The second time the little buggers did it, they etched it into an asbestos loaded wall. The custodians were not allowed to touch it without the proper clearance. They could not sand it out. This took a couple of days for the proper authorities to tell staff how to handle asbestos. Also what precautions to take because of the kids possible using the washroom. So THAT is why something wasn’t done the same day! As far as bullying, the school has a zero policy and it takes time to deal with all these kids, one on one and both the principals do it with much tenderness and care . I witness it daily. If parents did their job at home with their own kids, then VPs and Principals could get back to administrative duties instead of teaching your kids morals and values so stop passing the buck.
    CCVS is melting pot for all cultures, we have also welcomed in GVIS and The Kinsmen school in the last 2 years which has been taxing, but rewarding at the same time.

    I have never seen any other school be out up to the challenges that CCVS has but the school board knows, if anyone can pull it off, it’s CCVS. Our school is 207 years old we are proud and we are welcoming. To say anything about our principal is a clear insult as she takes care if the school and it’s children as if they were her own.

    Maybe all you people who have nothing better to do than gripe about nothing should get back to the our cities real problems like language issues and discrimination at the Cornwall Community Hospital and all the other government buildings and leave CCVS!

  30. Nice reporting Proud Cornwall Supporter. Jamie, are you taking notes? We’re waiting for your second official apology now. I think Mrs. Brown deserves a direct one. I’m going to take a page out of your book here and suggest that you resign from your position if you don’t apologize.

  31. Author

    Go figure the school board has not made an official statement. They have actually refused to provide us with any written statements. Nor has there been any proof to support any claims. Apologies only count if they are sincere and for the right reasons. As I’m sure most long time CFN viewers know if I make a mistake I’m clearly willing to apologize for it.

    So far there is no proof against anything other than what has been reported. On another note at no time did we ever suggest that CCVS was anything other than a fine school.

    There is only one issue here; the judgement of principal Brown.

  32. Your apology won’t matter now as the damage is already done. Another good person has suffered at the hands of your blog. Once again, you’ve let your personal beef with someone (in this case, UCDSB) get in the way of your job. I’m still trying to figure out how 420’s first comment on the follow-up article was allowed? Does calling someone ugly (I can only assume this is what was written because you moderated most of the word) serve any purpose in this discussion?

  33. Author

    gf I have no “beef” with the school board? If you search CFN all you will see is good stories about CCVS prior to the principal. Do you know something the rest of don’t? What good person has suffered other than the person that contacted the principal three times trying to get a hate symbol removed?

    And btw, we’re the largest and most read newspaper in Cornwall and the region. I have no idea why some of you people who chewed on lead toys as kids think that calling us a blog is some sort of insult?

  34. Wait a minute. Did someone say CCVS is full of asbestos?

  35. {MODERATED} Too Much if you wish to post with a pseudonym you have to register by emailing the same info as a Letter to the Editor to Please specify which pseudonym you wish to use.

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