Richard Bilkszto, principal bullied in DEI session, honoured at Toronto memorial

Richard Bilkszto, principal bullied in DEI session, honoured at Toronto memorial

By Sue-Ann Levy – October 17, 2023 FacebookTwitterPinterestWhatsAppLinkedin

Toronto District School Board teacher Natasha Mansouri said Sunday that well-respected educator Richard Bilkzsto’s untimely passing is a “significant loss” to everyone who knew him.

In a touching and eloquent tribute, Mansouri told a group gathered at Mel Lastman Square that Bilkszto had a “compassionate and unshakeable commitment to enhancing the quality of public education” – that he was a rare commodity.

Despite the chill and rainy skies, about 100 friends and former colleagues came out to pay tribute to the 60-year-old principal, who took his life in mid-July.

He was an educator who promoted “strength rather than victimhood,” who “dared to question” and who viewed “obstacles as opportunities,” said Mansouri, one of a half a dozen trustees, teachers and community members who gave touching tributes to him.

“I am troubled by the scarcity of people like Richard who confront bullies whether they’re in the schoolyard or the bullies who stand in front of the class,” she said. “I wish there were more individuals like him, brave and tireless who take a stance and speak up.

“If you’re out there, please speak up, you are not alone.”

It was clear she was speaking about the circumstances that led Bilkszto to take his own life in mid-July.

His lawyer Lisa Bildy and his family have both said it was the bullying by a Black Lives Matter-supporting Diversity, Equity, Inclusive (DEI) trainer in the spring of 2021 and the ongoing harassment by TDSB anti-racism executives that led to his death.

I have requested financial information under FOI legislation on the cost to the TDSB of the DEI trainer – Kike Ojo-Thomson of the KOJO Institute – but have yet to receive it.

In late July, both Education Minister Steven Lecce and TDSB education director Colleen Russell-Rawlins announced reviews of the situation leading up to his unfortunate death. But, after almost three months. we’ve heard nothing from either.

In my view, the TDSB review – being conducted by the King Advisory Group – is the furthest thing from independent and merely an attempt to sweep the harassment by TDSB executives and their preferred contractors under the rug.

The two teachers who spoke announced an award and scholarship in Bilkszto’s name. 

The award will recognize an educator who exemplifies the qualities the principal embodied, said TDSB trustee Weidong Pei.

“(He embodied) a dedication to excellence in education and devotion to his students and their well-being,” he said.

The scholarship will be awarded to an undergraduate accepted at a teachers college in Ontario who embraces the same qualities, the teachers said.

Teacher Jon Roberts, who was involved with Bilkszto in a chapter of the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR), said as a gay man who came of age in the 80s, Bilkszto knew about bigotry and hatred.

But he never insisted the intolerant get with the program or else, said Roberts.

“He was calm and caring…a beacon of positive change,” he said.

Pei said he was a teacher who insisted everyone have equality of opportunity no matter “what they look like.”

After Bilkszto helped Pei win the trustee election in 2022, he told him with a smile he better keep his promise to fight for children.

“Richard, I know you now look from the sky…I hope I made you proud fighting for the children you love,” the Willowdale trustee said, getting emotional.

“We are all better for knowing you and we are poorer for your loss.”

Ragini Sharma of the Toronto Asian Parents Association said Bilkszto was an ally for Asian students – “sensitive and sympathetic” to such students “being sidelined” in the TDSB system.

She said he appreciated that Asian students were considered “privileged” and labelled “white adjacent” by the anti-black racism focus of the board.

“He understood that Asian students do well because their parents value education and work hard to help the children succeed in school,” she said. 

“We shared his concern about school boards becoming more divisive in how they handled diversity and equity.”

She added that she knows Bilkszto would have liked the board to do more to bring more belongingness and compassion among students and staff.

“May his soul rest in peace,” she said.

“May his legacy never be forgotten,” added Mansouri.

The tribute ended with a moment of silence in his honour.

Tribute to Richard Bilkszto today @ 2 pm at Mel Lastman Square

Tribute to Richard Bilkszto today @ 2 pm at Mel Lastman Square

SOS TDSBToronto, Canada

Oct 15, 2023 — 

A Tribute to Richard Bilkszto will be taking place today (Sunday, October 15) at Mel Lastman Square in North York, starting at 2:00 pm.

Please join us to commemorate and celebrate Richard’s life. All are welcome to attend.

Tasha Kheiriddin from SOS TDSB will be emcee and attendees will hear speeches from columnist Anthony Furey, Trustees Dr. Weidong Pei, Dennis Hastings and Mike Ramsay, as well as Dr. Ragini Sharma from the C and educators Natasha Mansouri and Jon Roberts.

Please join us in-person if you can, however, a video recording of speeches will be uploaded to our website following the memorial.

Elected School Trustee Prevented from Doing His Job By Board Censors: The tyranny of the bureaucracy and the weaponization of codes of conduct

The tyranny of the bureaucracy and the weaponization of codes of conduct

Mike Ramsay is another victim of the weaponization of disciplinary hearings against those accused of heresy Author of the article: Michael Higgins Published Aug 28, 2023  •  Last updated Aug 28, 2023  •  5 minute read 456 Comments

Mike Ramsay
Mike Ramsay

Nineteen months ago, Mike Ramsay — a school trustee and former police officer who also happens to be Black — was in a board meeting when he came to the defence of a teacher he had never met. 

The cost to him so far: being called a white supremacist; being shunned; being censured by his school board; being banned from meetings; enduring a lengthy court battle; and, last month, facing the threat of another disciplinary hearing. 

Ramsay is another victim of the weaponization of disciplinary hearings against those accused of heresy, of not toeing the party line on gender identity or racial politics, or for simply objecting to what is being taught to children in schools. Or for tweeting something some people find objectionable. 

The most high-profile victim of the tyranny of the bureaucracy is Jordan Peterson, who recently lost a court battle against the College of Psychologists of Ontario. Peterson has been ordered by the college to undergo “coaching” for some tweets that the college found to be unbecoming a psychologist. 

Incredibly, in Peterson’s case, he hasn’t been found guilty of anything, there’s been no disciplinary hearing, it is simply punishment by fiat. 

This weaponization of codes of conduct is happening across Canada and is felt by many people who do not enjoy Peterson’s high profile.

Nurse Amy Hamm is facing disciplinary action for believing in biology and liking a “I (heart) J.K. Rowling” billboard. 

Chanel Pfahl, then a teacher in Barrie, Ont., faced action because of a Facebook post that opposed indoctrinating children with critical race theory.

Jim McMurtry, a teacher of 40 years with a master’s degree in the history of education, was fired by the Abbotsford School District for pointing out that most children in Indian residential schools died from tuberculosis and other diseases.

For Mike Ramsay, his troubles came out of the blue during a meeting of Ontario’s Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) in January 2022. 

Carolyn Burjoski, an English teacher with 20 years’ experience, was giving a presentation regarding her concerns about some of the reading material in elementary school libraries. Some books were being culled — like Dr. Seuss — while new books on diversity were being added.

She highlighted two new books, “Rick” by Alex Gina, where a young boy is encouraged to question his sexuality and eventually declares he is asexual, and “The Other Boy” by M.G. Hennessy, where a female teen later identifies as a boy. 

“Some of the books make it seem simple, even cool, to take puberty blockers and opposite sex hormones,” she told the board. But elementary students are just children. “Let them grow up in their own time and stop pressuring them to be sexual so soon,” she said.

She was eventually shut down by then-chairmen Scott Piatkowski over concerns she was breaching Ontario’s human rights code. Ramsay tried to defend Burjoski and wanted her presentation to continue but was overruled by a 5-4 vote. 

A month later, Ramsay faced a code of conduct complaint. The actual complaint and the WRDSB’s actions would have remained secret because of a confidentiality clause, but once Ramsay launched a legal action the documents became public. 

What was he accused of? “He disagrees with actions being taken by the WRDSB,” according to the complaint, and was not upholding decisions made by the board.  

His Twitter account was scoured. He was accused of retweeting a newspaper article, written by a colleague, that was critical of the board. He retweeted someone who called the WRDSB a “farce,” and in another tweet indicated that he agreed with a comment about the “woke war on critics.” He was guilty, according to the complaint, of tweeting or retweeting comments that “amplify harm” and “sow doubt.” 

He was accused of signing a petition that urged Ontario’s educational authorities to keep woke politics and policies out of schools. He didn’t write the petition, he just signed it, and for that has faced persecution. 

“Their interpretation of what constitutes a breach (of the code of conduct) in my mind is anything they don’t like that I’m saying. That’s the only criteria I think they’re using,” Ramsay said in an interview. 

“The primary focus nowadays right across our province, and in fact across our country, is to be teaching kids that one group based on their colour are the oppressors; and one group based on their racial background or colour are the oppressed. I don’t agree with that. I don’t believe that is a way forward and it runs contrary to the dream espoused by Martin Luther King. We have a group on the radical left who want to fight battles that have already been won.”

In July 2022, he was informed that he had breached of the board’s code of conduct by refusing to accept the decisions of the chair and the board, by accusing fellow trustees of unlawful conduct and by disclosing confidential information. He was censured and banned from meetings until September. He has launched a judicial review of that finding and is awaiting a decision.

Ramsay has been elected nine times as a trustee and has served continually since 2000. His aim is to “bring the parent voice to the board table, to bring the concerns of parents.” The code of conduct, he said, “is being used as a weapon to shut down dissenting voices. (And) that’s right across Canada. It’s part of this identity politics that in my mind is pretty dangerous.” 

“There is a severe cost” to fighting, Ramsay said. “You get shunned. You know how ridiculous it got? I’m Black, but I was called a white supremacist.” 

Ramsay said he was often reminded of the words of a Crown prosecutor: if you knew what something was going to cost in advance, maybe you would negotiate the price. 

Ramsay has an outlook on some matters that is now considered old fashioned and subject not just to ridicule, but to disciplinary action: he believes in a democratic society where people should be able to voice dissenting opinions; he believes children should be taught about history — the good and the bad; and he believes parents should have a voice at school board meetings. 

While being shunned by some, he has also had many people approach him offering support. Last year, as his troubles began, a stranger reached out offering kindness and compassion.

That stranger was Richard Bilkszto, a principal with the Toronto District School Board who was facing his own ordeal. Bilkszto had opposed some racial teachings during a diversity, equity and inclusion training session and ended up being bullied and facing an insinuation that he was a white supremacist, according to a lawsuit.

Bilkszto said, “I have an idea what you’re going through. You have my support,” according to Ramsay. The pair established a telephone and online relationship and in May, Ramsay and Bilkszto met for lunch. It was their first and last meeting. Last month, Richard Bilkszto killed himself.

Sometimes there’s a cost to fighting.

CAFE Protests The Anti-White Race Hucksters of the Kojo Institute Which Led to the Death of a Toronto Principal After a Maoist Style Struggle Session

CAFE Protests The Anti-White Race Hucksters of the Kojo Institute Which Led to the Death of a Toronto Principal After a Maoist Style Struggle Session

TORONTO. Friday, August 18, 2023. A dozen supporters of the Canadian Association for Free Expression and the Canadian Nationalist Patriots gathered today outside the south Etobicoke offices of the Kojo Institute to protest the suicide death of retired Toronto high school principal Richard Bilkszto.
Bilkszto attended several “anti-racism” seminars put on by the Kojo Institute and its director Kike Ojo-Thompson in 2021. “Toronto school principal Richard Bilkszto was bullied by an anti-racism trainer over ‘his whiteness”’ — his questioning of her assertion that Canada is a more racist place than the United States. In July, he took his own life. … Bilkszto, a Toronto District School Board (TDSB) principal, was berated in a DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) training session after pushing back on the trainer’s belief that Canada was more racist than the United States. (He agreed with the trainer that Canada had a racism problem, but pointed out that marginalized people have better access to education and health care north of the border.)

A week later, Bilkszto’s “resistance” was referred back to as an example of white supremacy in a session the next week. Humiliated, he took sick leave for more than a month (and was awarded compensation by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), which found he had suffered bullying in the workplace). Despite his stellar performance record, TDSB revoked work from him when he returned. In May of 2023, Bilkszto sued TDSB over the matter; last month, he took his own life. Friends and family said that he had been anxious over potential fallout from anticipated media coverage.” (National Post, August 16, 2023)

“Anti-racism is a fraud. Anti-racism is a code word for anti-White,” CAFE Director Paul Fromm said. Most people have a poor opinion of their neighbours, either on an ethnic or racial basis, he added. “The Japanese detest the Koreans and vice versa. I know: I’ve been there. In Africa, in Rwanda the small black Hutus hated the tall Tutsis and, in 1994, genocided about a million of them. So, most people are, to some extent, racist — a fuzzy word invented in the 1930s by communist Lev Davidovich Bronstein, known as Trotsky. However, it is only Whites who are the targets of these race hucksters!”

“The Kojo Institute and Kike Ojo-Thompson must be held accountable for the death of Principal Bilkszto,” Mr. Fromm added. CAFE will be contacting Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce who has promised an inquiry into the incident. “We want the police to investigate whether the Maoist style struggle session and humiliation of Mr. Bilkszto constituted reckless endangerment, or criminal negligence causing death.” Ojo-Thompson and the Kojo Institute hold themselves forth as professionals and experts. As such, her remarks denouncing Mr. Bilkszto for White privilege and, by implication racism and White supremacy are outrageous.

“|The Kojo Institute has made denouncing White people for big bucks —  a profitable endeavour,” Mr. Fromm added.

The Kojo Institute website boasts: ” Kike Ojo-Thompson is an award-winning equity thought leader. She is renowned for her work and expertise as an anti-racism and anti-Black racism educator, speaker, and organizational change facilitator. As founder and principal consultant of equity consultancy, KOJO Institute, Ojo-Thompson has spent 20 years guiding public and private organizations across a broad range of sectors towards more equitable outcomes. Notable clients include Canada’s largest school board, the TDSB; the nation’s biggest grocery retailer, Loblaw Companies Limited; top 10 North American bank, TD Canada Trust; and global relief organization, World Vision.

Race Huckster Kike Ojo-Thompson

Hear Paul Fromm protest KOJO institute Aug 18th 2023

CAFE & Canadian Nationalist Patriots Protest Race Huckters Whose Bullying Led to Toronto Principal’s Death

Gus Stefanis alongside Paul Fromm and his Canadian Association for Free Expression supporters (About CAFE protested the KOJO institute August 18th 2023.

KOJO institute Anti-Racism instructor Kike Ojo-Thompson (Diversity, Inclusion & Equity Consultancy – KOJO Institute consulted Toronto Principal Richard Bilkszto before his suicide.

‘Your Job in This Work as White People Is to Believe,’ DEI Instructor Tells Principal Who Later Committed Suicide…

Former Toronto principal accused of ‘white supremacy’ during ‘diversity training’ commits suicide – Rebel News…

What Anti-Racism Instructor Told Toronto Principal Richard Bilkszto Before His Suicide

We surprised them with our presence and gave them hell with the megaphone!

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Paul Fromm protests KOJO institute Aug 18th 2023

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