The disgrace in our schools

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Our public school system loves to pretend it opposes bullying, yet has been totally AWOL when bullying of Jewish students occurs. Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

In recent weeks we have seen a number of disgraceful anti-Semitic incidents in our public school system. The sentiments behind these abhorrent views had been simmering for years, but perversely the atrocities of the October 7 attacks on innocent Israelis brought them to the surface. 

Earlier this month, the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) informed the Holocaust and Antisemitism Education Association that “its services were no longer required.” Previously, Holocaust education had been mandatory in the Grade 10 curriculum, as such an important fact of history should be taught to students. The way the system works, however, is that professional development sessions for teachers on a given topic need to be recognized by the BCTF, and this did not happen in the case of Holocaust education. The decision came without any explanation from the union, and understandably disturbed a number of teachers in the system. Since this decision, the BCTF has not answered questions about it from the media and others. 

The response of the BC Education Minister, Rachna Singh, was that this decision was out of the province’s control as it was an internal union matter. Really? The unelected union’s decisions rule over the elected provincial government? What a ridiculous situation. Unions should be concerned only with matters involving collective bargaining with the province. They should have zero influence over anything regarding the curriculum, and the fact that they had any impact in this situation is disgraceful and unacceptable. All parents and taxpayers should be up in arms.  

Just this week in Ontario, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) added to the absurdity by supporting a report that failed to address antisemitism yet adopted a motion highlighting “anti-Palestinian racism.” This is shocking bias considering that the vast majority of disturbing incidents in schools these days involve antisemitism and very few if any concern anti-Palestinians activities. Jewish students have been threatened, have had stones thrown at them and suffered other indignities. Our public school system loves to pretend it opposes bullying, yet has been totally AWOL when bullying of Jewish students occurs. 

This TDSB action was a giant middle finger to the Jewish community, and was intended to be so. Jewish groups were not permitted to make statements to the committee involved, which is an absolute travesty considering that we all pay the taxes that support school boards and should always have the right to express our opinion. The TDSB has been known for some time as the most far left and reactionary school board in Canada, and these recent actions just cement that dismal reputation. 

Where were our duly elected governments in this mess? Seemingly nowhere, just stating this was either none of their business or ignoring these developments completely. This is unacceptable. I can’t imagine that this kind of public discrimination against any other group would be tolerated. It should not be with Jewish citizens either. All too many of our governments these days just take the easy way out and avoid conflict instead of doing the right thing. Shame on them. 

In another related issue, the ridiculous demonstrations from the pro-Hamas terrorist crowd on our streets on a regular basis continue. Yet they are not having the desired effect of bringing more people to their side. They are actually having the opposite impact as regular folks increasingly despise these protestors, as all decent people should. As we uncover more information about how these “protesters” are being paid by Hamas-related groups and Iran, any tiny shred of legitimacy they might ever have had disappears. It is certainly interesting that a three-week long demonstration in Ottawa by the truckers evoked the very extreme measure of the Emergency Act yet the various encampments on university properties for several months don’t seem to be a problem. Consistency is clearly not a feature of our governments. Nor is decency. 

In Ontario, we have a new Minister of Education, Todd Smith. He needs to be told immediately that we Ontarians do not accept the ridiculous and biased actions of the TDSB or any other school board in the province which chooses to distribute antisemitic propaganda. A number of public sector unions in Ontario have been very vocal supporters of the Middle Eastern terrorists, claiming that the horrific events of October 7 were some kind of victory. There are a number of lawsuits pending against the union leaders who expressed these despicable sentiments as these unions have many Jewish members who are forced by law to pay dues to these disgusting antisemites. Let’s hope there can be some justice in the success of these lawsuits, as the notion that any worker would be forced to pay a union that publicly calls for the annihilation of their particular religious group is abhorrent. 

Up until the horrific events of October 7, it was common to hear people say “Never again” referring to the Holocaust. They seemed to mean it. And yet, the surge of antisemitism since October 7 has put the lie to the notion of “Never again,” and has been an outrage to all decent people, as well as a surprise to many who believed that we would never again see such a despicable discrimination against Jews. As the old saying goes, “it may begin with the Jews, but it never ends with the Jews.” We will all be negatively affected if we don’t get rid of this cancer in our midst. It’s high time all decent people fight against the horrible antisemitic events taking place in our education system and elsewhere in our society to ensure we retain our decency and freedom. I know I’ll be there. Will you? 

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