Last night, all three frontline education workers’ local union offices in London were vandalized by transphobic bigots who have been emboldened by Ontario premier Doug Ford and education minister Stephen Lecce in the last three weeks.
CUPE 4186 – London District Catholic School Board – CUPE 4222 and CUPE 7575 – Thames Valley District School Board – have filed reports with the London Police Service and provided evidence to aid the criminal investigation.
The following is a statement from Laura Walton, educational assistant and president of CUPE’s Ontario School Boards Council of Unions:
“Vandalism is a classic tactic of intimidation that has been used against organized workers and oppressed peoples by mobs that oppose freedom, equality, and justice the world over.
“In this case, the violence against property is intended to intimidate workers who are speaking out to protect children’s right to education in an environment that’s free from harassment – and the right of all students to simply be who they are and express themselves regardless of their gender identity.
“Tomorrow, frontline education workers will stand up to those who are spreading hate. Together, we will continue to fight to ensure that our public schools are safe spaces for all.
“The Toronto District School Board has spoken out in support of students, including 2SLGBTQI+ children. We call on all school boards throughout Ontario to publicly condemn the hatred. This includes the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association, Association franco-ontarienne des conseils scolaires catholiques, and Association des conseils scolaires des écoles publiques de l’Ontario. Where do you stand?
“We also call on those with the most power, the education minister and the premier, to denounce attacks on students’ right to education and to support the fundamental freedom of children not to be discriminated against.
“Minister Stephen Lecce and Premier Doug Ford have shown a callous disregard for the safety and well-being of trans and queer youth. Home is not always a safe place for kids to discuss their gender identity. Sometimes school is a much safer place for kids to talk about themselves with caring adults, and get the supports they need. Forcing schools to report kids’ gender identities to parents puts the lives of children at risk.”