The Waterloo school board says the decision to cut off discussion of transgender fiction was driven by concerns about harm and legal liability.

The Waterloo Region District School Board says it closed a controversial discussion at last week’s meeting to avoid potential liability under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

In a statement issued Tuesday morning, he said he will not release a video of the school board meeting to reduce “harm to WRDSB students, staff and community, and reduce their legal exposure.”

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During the January 17 meeting, Carolyn Burjoski, who has been teaching English for the board for more than two decades, appeared as a private citizen. She noted that the board had sent teachers a long list of books and resources for transgender awareness week.

“Some of these books are a positive addition because they show diverse families and represent a variety of ethnicities, however, I am very concerned that some of the resources in our elementary school libraries are not appropriate for young children,” he told the magazine. Council.

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He specifically talked about a book called Haystack by Alex Geno, suggesting that the book might be asking children to think about sexuality before they have to.

“They’re kids. Let them grow up in their own time and stop pushing them to be sexual so soon,” Burjoski said. “In fact, some of the books that fill our libraries make it seem simple or even cool to take puberty blockers.” and sex hormones.

That’s when board chairman Scott Piatkowski initially interrupted her.

“I’m a little worried that its content might be problematic,” he said. “I’m not sure exactly where you’re heading, but I’d advise you to make sure you don’t say anything that violates the Human Rights Code.”

Burjoski denied this and went on to discuss another book about a girl who is later identified as a boy named Shane.

“Shane takes puberty blockers and is now excited to start testosterone. The doctor claims that this mix of hormones will render Shane infertile in the future. Shane’s response is ‘okay’”.

The book “doesn’t take into account how Shane might feel later in life about infertility,” he said, adding, “This book makes very serious medical interventions seem like an easy cure-all for emotional and social distress and…”

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It was then that Piatkowski cut it a second time.

“I have never pointed out that the Ontario Human Rights Code includes gender identity and gender expression as (grounds under which) discrimination (could be claimed), and I am concerned that your comments violate that, so I am ending the submission,” she said.

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The committee voted to uphold its decision. He came out in favor, 6-4, including a Piatkowski vote.

The school board issued a statement last Thursday, which included an apology for the teacher’s conduct.

“We would like to express our deep regret for any harm caused to the transgender community,” the apology read.

“As a school board, we are guided by the Ontario Human Rights Code and are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that all students are affirmed in their identity and reflected in their learning environment. The Board is committed to upholding the values ​​and principles set forth in Board Policy 1008 Equity and Inclusion and Board Policy 1017 Human Rights. The Board is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment free from inequity, discrimination, and harassment.”

The next day, Burkowski posted a video on Twitter, saying she had been assigned to work from home.

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“The next morning, Human Resources informed me that I was immediately assigned home, pending a formal investigation. (I am) prohibited from contacting my colleagues and students,” he said.

“I have been silenced and punished. Meanwhile, board members took to radio, television and social media to grossly misrepresent my comments.”

Global News reached out to Piatkowski for comment, but he said he would not comment further, pointing to other interviews he has given.

This week’s board meeting also featured delegates discussing LGBTQ2S at the school. The board has not yet posted a video online.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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