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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Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
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Vatican pressing forward with reform of US feminist nuns: Cardinal Müller

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, says the Vatican is pressing forward with plans to reform the U.S.-based Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

In an interview published in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the cardinal said that the reform of the LCWR, which was undertaken after an assessment of the group found serious doctrinal problems, will be carried out with the goal of helping them "rediscover their identity.”

“Congregations have no more vocations and risk dying out," Müller said. "We have first of all tried to reduce hostility and tensions, partly thanks to Bishop Sartain whom we sent to negotiate with them; he is a very gentle man. We wish to stress that we are not misogynists, we are not women gobblers! Of course we have a different concept of religious life but we hope to help them rediscover their identity.”

Moreover, the cardinal said that problems specific to the LCWR are not a reflection of all the women religious in the US.

"We need to bear in mind that they do not represent all US nuns, but just a group of nuns who form part of an association,” Müller said.

“We have received many distressed letters from other nuns belonging to the same congregations, who are suffering a great deal because of the direction in which the LCWR is steering their mission.”

Cardinal Müller's remarks confirmed the assertion he and the Holy See’s delegate to the LCWR, Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle, made in an address to LCWR officials in Rome on April 30, that the theological drift the feminist nuns are taking constitutes a radical departure from the foundational theological concepts of Catholicism.

The Holy See “believes that the charismatic vitality of religious life can only flourish within the ecclesial faith of the Church,” Müller said in the address.

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“The LCWR, as a canonical entity dependent on the Holy See, has a profound obligation to the promotion of that faith as the essential foundation of religious life. Canonical status and ecclesial vision go hand-in-hand, and at this phase of the implementation of the Doctrinal Assessment, we are looking for a clearer expression of that ecclesial vision and more substantive signs of collaboration,” he stated.

The LCWR has openly defied the mandate of reform intended to bring their organization into line with basic Catholic doctrine on the nature of God, the Church, and sexual morality.

Among the CDF’s directives, to which LCWR has strenuously objected, is the requirement that “speakers and presenters at major programs” be approved by Archbishop Sartain. This, Müller has explained, was decided in order to “avoid difficult and embarrassing situations wherein speakers use an LCWR forum to advance positions at odds with the teaching of the Church.”

The LCWR has invited speakers to their Annual Assembly such as New Age guru Barbara Marx Hubbard, and Sr. Laurie Brink, who is particularly noted for flagrantly denying the Divinity of Christ and telling the sisters that to maintain their “prophetic” place in society they need to “go beyond” the Church and even “go beyond Jesus.”

In one of the first public statements of his pontificate, Pope Francis affirmed that the investigation and reform of the LCWR must continue.

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Brian Fisher

Birth mothers: real heroes of the pro-life movement

Brian Fisher
By Brian Fisher
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What does it mean to be brave? Is it the doctor who dedicates himself to improving the health of a third-world nation? Is it the woman who faces her third round of chemotherapy to fight the progression of cancer? Is it the teacher who forgoes the comforts of a suburban school to reach minorities in the inner city? All of these are examples of bravery demonstrated in exceedingly challenging circumstances. And our society longs for stories of bravery to inspire us and fill us with hope.

As someone who works day in and day out with those on the front lines of helping rescue babies from abortion, I’m no stranger to stories of bravery. I see courage every day in the eyes of the men and women who sacrifice their time and energy to help women facing unplanned pregnancies. I see it every time a young mom — despite being pressured by her parents or significant other to get an abortion — chooses LIFE. And perhaps more profoundly than in any other situation, I see it when an expectant mom with no relational support, job, or income chooses to place her baby for adoption rather than abort her son or daughter.

This was Nicky’s situation.

When Nicky found herself pregnant with her boyfriend’s child, her life was already in shambles. During her 26 years, Nicky had already given birth to and surrendered sole custody of a little girl, committed several felonies, lived in her car, lost several jobs, and barely subsisted on minimum wage. So when she met up with an old boyfriend, Brandon, Nicky believed she was being given a second chance at happiness. “Our first year together was beautiful. We were getting to know each other and deciding if we would stay together forever.” Unfortunately, a positive pregnancy test result changed everything.

“When I told him I was pregnant, Brandon sat down on the bed, looked me in the eyes, and told me to ‘get an abortion’.” Nicky says those three little words changed everything for her. “I became depressed living with someone who wanted his child ‘dealt with.’”  Like thousands of women every day, Nicky began searching online for information on abortion, hoping her boyfriend would eventually change his mind. Through our strategic marketing methods, Online for Life was able to guide Nicky to a life-affirming pregnancy center where she received grace-filled counsel. “The woman I sat with was beyond wonderful. She helped me to just breathe and ask God what to do….And so I did.”

Nicky left the pregnancy center that day with a new resolve to choose life for her child, even though she still wasn’t sure how she’d financially support a child. “I was alone with just $10 in my pocket…and without any type of plan for what I was going to do.” So Nicky relied on the support of the staff she met at the life-affirming pregnancy center. With their help and through a chain of fortunate events, Nicky was put in contact with the couple who would eventually become her daughter’s adoptive parents.

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After meeting this couple face to face and coming to terms with her own desperate situation, Nicky conceded that the best thing for her unborn child would be to place her in someone else’s loving home. She told Brandon about her plans and he agreed that adoption would give their child the best chance at a happy and secure future. He even returned home to help Nicky prepare for the birth of their child. “The weeks leading up to my delivery were filled with a mixture of laughter, tears, protectiveness and sadness,” Nicky recalls. But one sentiment continued to be shared with her. “Brave…so brave.” That’s what everyone from the life-affirming pregnancy center to the adoption agency to the birthing center kept calling Nicky. “The nurses kept coming up to me and telling me they were honored to care for and treat someone like me.” After several weeks of preparation, Nicky finally gave birth to a healthy baby girl, and she made the dreams of a couple from the other side of the country come true.

Nicky’s adoption story continues to be riddled with a strange combination of pain and joy. “I cry every day, but I know my baby, who came out of a very bad time, ended up being loved by people from across the country.” When asked what message she’d like to share with the world about her decision to give up her child for adoption, Nicky responds, The voice of the mother who gives up a baby for adoption isn’t heard. We need to change that.”

To learn more about Online for Life and how we’re helping to make stories like Nicky and her daughter’s story a possibility, please visit OnlineforLife.org.

Author, speaker, and business leader Brian Fisher is the President and Co-Founder of Online for Life, a transparent, metric-oriented, compassion-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to helping rescue babies and their families from abortion through technology and grace.

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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New York farmers stop hosting weddings after $13,000 fine for declining lesbian ceremony

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By Dustin Siggins

New York farmers Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who were ordered last week to pay $13,000 for not hosting a same-sex "wedding," say they are closing that part of their operation.

"Going forward, the Giffords have decided to no longer host any wedding ceremonies on their farm, other than the ones already under contract," said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) lawyer James Trainor. ADF represented the Giffords in their legal fight against New York's non-discrimination law.

Last week, the Giffords were ordered to pay a $10,000 fine to the state of New York and $3,000 in damages to a lesbian couple, Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin, who approached them in 2012 about hosting their "wedding." The Giffords, who are Roman Catholic, said their religious convictions would not let them host the ceremony, but that McCarthy and Erwin could hold their reception on their property.

Unbeknownst to the Giffords, the lesbian couple recorded the two-to-three minute conversation. After declining to hold the reception on the Giffords' farm, on which they live and rent property, the lesbian couple decided to make a formal complaint to the state's Division of Human Rights.

Eventually, Judge Migdalia Pares ruled that the Giffords' farm, Liberty Ridge Farm, constitutes a public accommodation because space is rented on the grounds and fees are collected from the public. The Giffords argued that because they live on the property with their children, they should be exempt from the state law, but Pares said that this does not mean their business is private.

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Trainor told TheBlaze that the Giffords' decision to end wedding ceremonies at Liberty Ridge “will hurt their business in the short run," but that was preferable to violating their religious beliefs.

“The Giffords serve all people with respect and care. They have hired homosexual employees and have hosted events for same-sex couples,” he said.

However, "since the state of New York has essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions," Trainor explained to LifeSiteNews. "No American should be forced by the government to choose between their livelihood and their faith, but that’s exactly the choice the state of New York has forced upon the Giffords."

"They will continue to host wedding receptions," said Trainor.

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