Toronto Catholic School Board Pro-Gay Harassment Policy Threatens Priests

One of the largest school boards in Canada could penalize what would normally be considered remaining faithful to Catholic moral teaching
Wed Aug 29, 2007 - 12:15 pm EST

By Elizabeth O’Brien

TORONTO, August 29, 2007 ( - The new "Discrimination and Harassment in the Workplace" policy, recently released by the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB), bans discrimination due to "same-sex partner status" and "sexual orientation". The document, a copy of which has been obtained by, also indicates that teachers and even parish priests could potentially be penalized for what would normally be considered remaining faithful to Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

  The policy preface states, "The harassment and discrimination policy of the Toronto Catholic District School Board is deeply rooted in Catholic teaching." Nevertheless, the policy protects "same sex partner status", defining discrimination as "unfair treatment" based on "race, sex, color, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, marital status, same sex partner status, sexual orientation, age, disability, citizenship, family status, record of offences or religion (creed)."

  Harassment is defined as "any vexatious behavior that threatens, intimidates, demeans, humiliates, or embarrasses a person or a group, and that a reasonable person should have known would be unwelcome. It includes actions, comments, or displays. It normally involves a course of conduct but a single act of a serious nature may constitute harassment." The long list of offenses includes, "suggestive remarks" and "the use of stereotypical images or language."

  The document indicates that a staff member could use the ambiguity of many of these examples, such as behavior that "embarrasses a person," to push a pro-homosexual or other agenda that contradicts Catholic teaching.

  Other examples of harassment are listed as, "differential treatment, and the avoidance or exclusion of any group or individual, for example the refusal to converse or work with an employee because of his/her racial or ethnic background." These examples also suggest that a school principal could be convicted for not hiring an active homosexual who wanted to be a youth counselor or kindergarten teacher.

  The policy also indicates that the regulations apply to everyone involved in the Catholic schools, including the "parish priest". It states, "Every member of this community, student, parent/guardian, employee, contracted service provider, trustee, parish priest or others while on Board property and at Board sponsored events shares in the responsibility for creating an environment that is safe and respectful."

  The policy will be enforced "within offices, staff rooms, classrooms, cafeterias/lunch rooms and other Board property events associated with and including co-instructional and extra-curricular activities situations outside of Board operated premises e.g. field trips, external work assignments, work-related conferences, training sessions, travel or social gathering."

  The penalties for committing an offense are swift and severe and could lead to the offender being fired. The policy states, "Any employee found to have engaged in any type of harassment will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal." The Director of Education will "ensure that corrective measures are taken and disciplinary measures are imposed quickly and without undue delay when a complaint is substantiated, regardless of the seniority of the offender."

  To see a copy of the harassment policy click here:

  To contact the Toronto Catholic District School Board Trustees and respectfully voice concerns:
  Joseph Martino (Etob): P: (416) 512-3401 F: (416) 512-3401                Email:    

  Ann Andrachuk (Etob): P: (416) 512-3402 F: (416) 512-3402                Email:

  Sal Piccininni (N.York): P: (416) 512-3403 F: (416) 512-3403               Email:

  Mary Cicogna (N.York): P: (416) 512-3404 F: (416) 512-3404               Email:

  Maria Rizzo (N.York): P: (416) 512-3405 F: (416) 512-3405                  Email:

  Christine Nunziata (York): P: (416) 512-3406 F: (416) 512-3406            Email:

  John Del Grande (Scar/N.York): P: (416) 512-3407 F: (416) 512-3407   Email:

  Catherine LeBlanc-Miller (Scar): P: (416) 512-3409 F: (416) 512-3409   Email:

  Barbara Poplawski (Toronto): P: (416) 512-3410 F: (416) 512-3410       Email:

  Angela Kennedy (E.York/Toronto): P: (416) 512-3411 F: (416) 512-3411  Email:

  Paul Crawford (Scar): P: (416) 512-3412 F: (416) 512-3412                 Email:

  Ihor Korbabicz (Student): P: (416) 512-3413 F: (416) 512-3413           Email:

  Oliver Carroll, TCDSB Chair
  80 Sheppard Ave. E.
  North York, On
  M2N 6E8
  Phone: 416.512.3408

  To Contact the Archdiocese of Toronto and respectfully voice concerns:

  Archbishop Thomas Collins
  1155 Yonge Street
  Toronto, Ontario, M4T 1W2
  Phone: (416) 934-0606, ext. 609
  Fax: (416) 934-3452

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