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

"They were put up by the teacher in an attempt to speak more directly to youth on what is a sensitive topic," said TDSB spokesman Ryan Bird.
By Thaddeus Baklinski

By Thaddeus Baklinski

Warning: article includes graphic description

TORONTO, May 9, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After a grade 7-8 teacher in Toronto posted graphic “safe sex” pamphlets in his classroom, at least one of which was originally designed for “mature” venues like gay bath houses, the Toronto District School Board has put him on home assignment, but defended the teacher for having “good intentions.”

"They were put up by the teacher in an attempt to speak more directly to youth on what is a sensitive topic," TDSB spokesman Ryan Bird told Sun News.

Bird told LifeSiteNews that Vroom has been removed from the school and is "on home assignment pending a review," but would not give any more details.

One of the pamphlets depicted two men apparently engaged in a sex act and gives explicit advice on oral sex. The pamphlet was produced by the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) and is intended primarily for distribution to homosexual bars and bathhouses across the city. It is not intended to be given to children, said an ACT spokesman.

"We do use explicit language because we're targeting a specific community where this kind of language is warranted and needed," ACT spokesman Andrew Brett said.

Other pamphlets in the classroom reportedly included an ad for female condoms and the morning-after pill. 

Sun News identified the teacher who posted the pamphlets as Wade Vroom, described as an "occasional" teacher with the TDSB and an independent filmmaker, who teaches at Delta Alternative Sr. School on Montrose Avenue in Toronto. 

The alternative school operates out of the third floor of Montrose Public School.  

Although the bulletin board 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 last Friday. 

“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. 

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

Not all are convinced by school officials’ explanations that they were unaware of the pamphlets' presence.

“You would think that somebody would’ve noticed it,” said Doretta Wilson, Executive Director of the Society for Quality Education. "You mean, a principal hadn't visited that classroom since October? I think this begs the bigger question of why the principal wasn’t aware of it, why other parents weren’t aware of it, why school council wasn’t aware of it. 

“We know ... that it's important for the principal to monitor what is in the classroom and what teachers are doing. The more principals are involved with their teachers, it makes for a better atmosphere in the school." 

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Ontario Education Minister Liz Sandals reacted to the news of Vroom's activity more forcefully, saying the explicit sexual material posted in the children's classroom was “totally inappropriate.” 

“Clearly, from what was described in the media, the materials that were being used are totally inappropriate and are in no way connected to the Ontario health and phys ed curriculum,” Sandals said in a statement. “The reason we put a lot of effort into reviewing and defining curriculum is so that teachers in fact do have quite a specific direction.” 

Conservative Education Critic Lisa MacLeod blasted both the school board and its spokesman. 

“Enough is enough," MacLeod said. "The Toronto District School Board clearly is out of control when it comes to this - this is not the first time something like has occurred there - and I think the government really has to put their foot down and make it known that that type of material is unacceptable.” 

Focusing on Ryan Bird's statement that Vroom had “good intentions,” MacLeod said, “Someone at the Toronto District School Board ought to be fired.” 

A call to the Ontario College of Teachers, which licenses, governs and regulates Ontario's teachers, and investigates and resolves complaints about misconduct or incompetence, did not confirm whether Vroom is under investigation. The OCT's disciplinary hearings are open to the public, and disciplinary decisions are available on its website. http://www.oct.ca/ 

Gwen Landolt, national vice-president of REAL Women Canada, said Vroom's actions show not only a lack of judgment, but are a danger to children. 

"The public school teacher who placed explicit brochures on a school bulletin board, available for Grade 7 and 8 children to view, is an example of the incredible lack of judgment on the part of some teachers whose actions must be monitored," Landolt told LifeSiteNews. 

"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."

“Obviously, the teacher in question, Wade Vroom, has disclosed by his actions that he believes he is free to share his apparent inclinations with unsuspecting children. 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'[email protected]
 

Ontario College of Teachers
101 Bloor Street West,
Toronto ON, M5S 0A1
Phone: 416-961-8800
Toll Free (Ontario Only): 1-888-534-2222
Fax: 416-961-8822
Email: [email protected]


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