Thaddeus Baklinski

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Toronto School Board refuses to say why it reinstated teacher who posted graphic gay sex brochures

Thaddeus Baklinski
Thaddeus Baklinski
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TORONTO, July 30, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Toronto District School Board (TDSB) officials have refused a request to make public the reason for reinstating Wade Vroom, a grades 7/8 teacher at Delta Alternative Sr. School who posted graphic sex pamphlets in his classroom and was subsequently removed from his class.

A Freedom of Information request was made by QMI Agency for records surrounding Vroom's reinstatement, according to a Sun News Network report.

The request turned up a few documents relating to the situation, but nothing that explained why the board decided to reinstate a teacher who, after Sun News broke the story in May, became the subject of investigation by the police.

"After a search of all related documents, the board has provided all relevant information with the exception of any documents that are exempt from disclosure as per the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act," TDSB spokesman Ryan Bird said in a statement Monday. 

"This includes documents related to specific personnel matters, which we cannot release for privacy reasons," said Bird. 

"Further access to other responsive records is denied," wrote Maria Mavroyannis, TDSB's freedom of information co-ordinator, citing a section from the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, in response to QMI Agency's request. 

Vroom was originally removed from the school and put on "home assignment" after it was revealed that he had set up a display of sex brochures originally designed for gay bathhouses on his classroom walls. 

One brochure featured an image of the naked buttocks of a tattooed man being clutched by another man who is kneeling in front of him. The brochure is titled: “Use Your Head When Giving It: Blow Job Tips.” Another, titled “If You Like to F---,” conveyed sexual health tips for men who have sex with men. 

A third brochure included ads for female condoms and the morning after pill. 

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A spokesman for the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) said the pamphlets were intended primarily for distribution to homosexual bars and bathhouses across the city, not for children. 

Although the classroom display was reportedly put up last October, the TDSB maintains that neither the principal of the school, Marc Mullan, nor any other school official knew about the posters, and that Vroom did not obtain permission to display them in the classroom, the Sun News Network reported. 

Ryan Bird said the school board ordered the posters removed when they were notified about the material in early May. 

“My understanding is that it was meant to speak about a delicate issue in a more direct way with some of the students, but clearly it crossed a line,” said Bird at the time. 

"Having said that, it was clearly inappropriate and has been taken down," he added. 

However, by the end of May, Vroom was back in the alternative school classroom, which operates out of the third floor of Montrose Public School. 

“[A]s it’s a personnel matter, we cannot provide specific details; however we can confirm that the matter has been resolved and the teacher in question has resumed his duties at the school,” stated the Toronto District School Board in a press release on May 28. 

At the same time, Toronto police said they were investigating Vroom's actions to see if charges would be laid. 

The Criminal Code on sexual exploitation offences against children states that anyone who “makes, prints, publishes, distributes, circulates or has in his possession for the purpose of publication, distribution or circulation any obscene written matter, picture, model, phonograph record or other thing whatever” commits the offence of “corrupting morals.” 

Following the disclosure that police were launching an investigation, LifeSiteNews called the Ontario College of Teachers to find out if the agency that licenses, governs and regulates Ontario's teachers, and investigates and resolves complaints about misconduct or incompetence, was also investigating the case. The OCT did not confirm whether Vroom was under investigation by them. 

Gwen Landolt, national vice-president of REAL Women Canada, told LifeSiteNews that the TDSB was “totally out to lunch” when it stated that the “matter has been resolved.” 

“Parents have to be advised as to why this man, who committed this totally atrocious action of putting despicable posters up in the classroom has been put back into the classroom,” she said. 

"The material posted … is abominable and repellant by any standards. This situation only points out how important it is for the parents to carefully monitor what goes on in their children's classrooms in order to keep their children from such exploitation." 

“Mr. Vroom should never be allowed to teach children again. He is a danger to them," Landolt said.

 

Contact information:

Toronto District School Board
Donna Quan, Director of Education
5050 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario M2N 5N8
Phone: 416-395-8201
Email: director'soffice@tdsb.on.ca

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne
Phone: 416-325-1941
E-mail: premier@ontario.ca 

Tim Hudak, Ontario PC Leader
Phone: 416-861-0020
Toll-free: 1-800-903-6453
Email: tim.hudakco@pc.ola.org

Ontario College of Teachers
101 Bloor Street West,
Toronto ON, M5S 0A1
Phone: 416-961-8800
Toll Free: 1-888-534-2222
Fax: 416-961-8822
Email: info@oct.ca 

Related: 

Police investigate teacher who posted graphic gay sex brochures in 7-8 Toronto classroom

School board reinstates teacher who posted graphic gay sex brochures in 7/8 classroom

Teacher who posted graphic safe-sex pamphlets in 7/8 classroom had ‘good intentions’: school board

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PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received more than $400 million in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

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"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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