Trustee at Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB ) Lies to other Trustees about Parent – August 2020
Good afternoon trustees of the UGDSB,I am writing to you because as i understand it, in your position you are:They are locally-elected representatives of the public, and they are the community’s advocate for public education. They are required to carry out their responsibilities in a manner that assists the board in fulfilling its duties under the Education Act.https://elections.
ontarioschooltrustees.org/ WhatDoTrusteesDo/ SchoolBoardTrustees.aspx? AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1Over the past week I have been having a discussion with the ugdsb about their new equity and inclusion policy. I had a long list of questions after watching the meeting from June 16 and took advantage of an offered meeting to further clarify the positions the board is taking as articulated in that meeting. I cc’d you all on the original list of questions but will include them again at the bottom of this email for your convenience.The board responded to me and set a meeting for July 3 from 1:30-2:30. In the process of setting that meeting it was changed from a one on one meeting to a meeting of 3 people from the board and myself. My request for a one on one meeting was casually dismissed and my request for the questions to be answered prior to the meeting was denied multiple times. The reason given was that the superintendent needed her team there to answer the questions. She also stated that her team would be on vacation and would need to come in during vacation time in order to attend, which seemed like an odd choice, considering my request for written answers and a one on one meeting to discuss the answers further. It’s a very complex topic.I digress. I am requesting one, or as many of you who would like to attend, to sit in on this meeting to hear the clarification and to help me articulate the concerns that I see in this policy to the correct people at the board. I will be specific about what language is concerning. Why it’s concerning and what i believe the policies to be contravening in the education act.To put it bluntly critical race theory, the theory that the board is using to ground all of it’s policies, says according to britanica:Critical race theory (CRT), the view that the law and legal institutions are inherently racist and that race itself, instead of being biologically grounded and natural, is a socially constructed concept that is used by white people to further their economic and political interests at the expense of people of colour.This is not the only definition i have sourced and all make the same claims specifically about ‘white people.’ I can provide further links if you want.The curriculum lead Colinda states clearly in this june 16 board meeting “because the systems were all developed by folks who were white that they are inherently racist.”How is the board promoting a positive school climate by having this as a cornerstone to their equity and inclusion policy? Do you have a good answer? In your opinion am I misunderstanding something vital here? Is it also your opinion that any system created by ‘folks who are white’ is ‘inherently racist?’I am asking for your help in good faith. I believe this to be a very damaging change.Looking forward to discussing this with each of you.Thank you for your time.Mark Paralovos
I know you all got an email from Mark Paravolos. I have had many such meetings/emails from him as a member or FSLAC. He is fun to have long philosophical discussions with but in my experience it is one sided. He has had no intention of using the discussion to change/examine his opinion that he comes to the meeting with. When I have time, I enjoy the challenge of understanding his arguments and studying my own ideas to see how they stand up to the scrutiny.
I just wanted you to know that this is not an invitation to take up lightly or without a lot of preparation. I usually spend an hour or two before I reply to his emails making sure that my points are ordered, based on data, and that I know enough other facts to defend my points. I find it a lot of fun but a lot of work. Usually he is far outside the mandate of FSLAC but he has clearly stated to me that he will continue to use it as an opening to send his opinions to others on any topic he wishes, even after other members have asked him to stop including them.
As soon as he finds out that addressing all of us gets as response from the chair, I am sure that he will contact everyone individually with a more complex argument than this one. His main premise is that the philosophy of our board equity plan is wrong. He hasn’t yet shared what his cultural philosophy is.
I agree with our use of the philosophy that the white victors wrote the rules and wrote history and it is inherently biased because of that. I will continue to defend it privately to him.
Just a friendly heads up as to what you will be getting when you answer him.
I’m glad you find me so fun. I didn’t know I had made that much of an impression on you. Can you remind me of… Any discussions we’ve had in the past?With regards to this fslsc email chain your describe it very differently than I remember it. You told me too stop ccing everyone as it was outside of the fslsc mandate and I disagreed. I have no intention of trying to further any agenda nor to use the list for anything other than official business or discussing board related items and your suggestion is insulting and surprising. I will absolutely be following up with the chair.Would you all like me to include the email chain referenced?With regard to my intention to change my opinion, how dare you state my intention. I will be following up with the Ombudsman about your conduct here.With regards to reaching out to you, I was and am being genuine. I am asking questions that are on topic and have a real impact to the day to day at the board. The language used matters. I find it shocking that I need to defend myself against a trustees slanderous and uninformed comments.I try to be thoughtful and respectful in my discord with everyone. I respect that we may disagree. Your behavior here is reprehensible.How shocking.Good day.
Good Evening Martha,Thank you for following up. I can certainly understand kids needs. Particularly these days! I have a 4 year old and a 7 year old home full time while both my wife and i are working full time from home. It’s a well oiled machine. Lol. Mine are watching a movie at the moment. 🙂Fundamentally my concerns are around Ms. Ross and her email to her colleagues about me. I went through it line by line in the long email chain you’re a part of. I have included screenshots of those emails at the bottom of this email.Ms. Ross made up conversations and claimed situations and conversations that never happened. She undermined my credibility to her colleagues by either completely making things up or embellishing interactions. It’s true, I am long winded at times during the FSLAC meeting, but that hardly counts as a long philosophical conversation. I have never emailed her personally other than for board business. Certainly not to pursue a personal conversation.I reached out to the trustees because after reading through the handbooks I thought it was the duty of the trustees to help the public communicate effectively with the board. Every one of the trustees responded that they agreed with the board and the equity plan, but not one person asked me to clarify my concern in order to help me articulate it more effectively. None tried to explain why they supported the equity plan and none addressed a single one of my concerns. Perhaps I misunderstood the role of the trustee, and that’s on me.However, to have a trustee claim what was claimed by Ms. Ross to colleagues about a parent who is reaching out asking for help is beyond abhorrent. I took the time to watch the June 16 meeting in full after reaching out to the FSLAC committee for help in what direction things were going. Took the time to put together well thought out questions that are about racism and intolerance. Questions I would very much still like the answers to. I attended the racism meeting on June 24th as i didn’t see any other times to hear about the board’s equity plan. I did my homework and for doing that I was ignored and lied about by a trustee! The board’s own equity guidelines states:As an educational community we have a responsibility to identify and describe racism and oppression and then work to dismantle it.I identified multiple people in the equity and inclusion team displaying very concerning world view and that critical race theory directly states that ‘either something is anti-racist or it’s upholding white supremacy and therefore racist.” This seems to be targeting one race which is against statute 169.1 in the education act.In the response to the trustees from Ms. Ross she also states:I agree with our use of the philosophy that the white victors wrote the rules and wrote history and it is inherently biased because of that. I will continue to defend it privately to him.Which in my mind are as troubling as the june 16th meeting. Are we working to dismantle all racism? I digress, i’m not trying to make this about my original point.In asking for help to communicate my concerns from the elected board trustees I do not feel I deserved to be lied about and slandered in a ‘reply all’ email to the group. I do not feel it’s appropriate conduct for a trustee. I do not think it’s appropriate conduct for a chair to say about a member of her committee. Even if it were true. Which it is most certainly not .The anti racism and anti-oppression work page says:We will implement ongoing mandatory anti-racism and anti-oppression training for all staff…and be fully transparent and accountable to all Upper Grand students, staff, families, and stakeholders in an ongoing manner.I would like some accountability for the actions of this Trustee and FSLAC chair. I am a first generation Canadian and son of immigrants. My grandparents spoke a different language when they arrived in Toronto on a boat and the run around that i experienced trying to even get people to give me the time of day is appalling. But the conduct of this trustee to undermine me, privately to her colleagues while lying about interactions we have had is beyond the pale.Thank you for your serious attention to this.I have attached the relevant email chains for your to read through if you see fit.Thank you for your time. I am not working to undermine anyone. I am not working to further any cultural philosophy. I believe strongly that everyone deserves to be treated fairly and equally no matter what colour their skin is.Here is one last thought. Here is a screenshot of the anti-black racism resources. Do you see any bias at all? It is this clear bias that concerns me. Do you know what MacDonalds in China did recently to black africans?
nbcblk/mcdonald-s-apologizes- after-restaurant-china-bans- black-people-n1184616More reading:
After further conversation with Trustee Ross and careful review of the additional materials you have sent me, I have made my final decision which is to uphold the decision I made in my previous letter to you. Trustee Ross made an error in judgement regarding digital etiquette but did not contravene any of our policies.
As there was no violation of policy, and therefore no action to take on my part, I will conclude my involvement in this issue.
I sincerely apologize on behalf of the Board for the digital etiquette error and assure you that it will not happen again.
Thank you for your patience as we worked through this during this unusual time in history, it is greatly appreciated.
Good Morning Martha,
A further follow up. You stated:
I sincerely apologize on behalf of the Board for the digital etiquette error and assure you that it will not happen again.This was not what my complaint was about. I did not complain because of a digital error. I complained because one of your trustees thought she could lie about a parent to the other trustees in email. Emails are permanent records. Her slanderous defamation of me to other trustees is not legal. If you are bound by the policies of the board you have not sufficiently looked into this situation. Your apology is not sufficient.I outlined clearly what my complaint was about and expect it addressed directly. If you looked into her lying about me, what is your decision on that? If not, please re-read my original complaint. If it is your final ruling, please articulate your apology and decision as if it were addressing my original complaint, the slanderous lies and attempted destruction of my reputation by your trustee.In your response please also confirm the material you considered when looking at this valid complaint including board and trustee specific policies. Thank you for your careful attention to this request.On a related but separate issue, I would like to understand the language used in Trustee Ross’s email to the other Trustees. This was not addressed in my original complaint but bears exploration because the language is concerning. In the email she states“I agree with our use of the philosophy that the white victors wrote the rules and wrote history and it is inherently biased because of that. I will continue to defend it privately to him. “Aside from the fact that she has never articulated anything of the sort to me publicly or privately this statement concerns me. Is this language used casually by board trustees? What is she referring to specifically when she says ‘white victors? Who are these ‘white victors?” What group? All white people? What exactly is she talking about here? What issues does she have with history specifically? Is there history that is being pointed to that is invalid? These statements (of white victors and biased history) are not backed up by history or science that I am aware of. What is she basing her statement on? Do the Trustees agree with Trustee Ross about this statement? Does the board (to your knowledge?) Please provide an email address for confirmation if you state that the board agrees.I take issue that she lies in this statement by stating that she has previously stated her position about this to me and that she has ever defended it in any way to me publicly or privately. That is a bold faced lie. We have never had any discussion regarding this ever in any capacity and her claims to the contrary are inappropriate, unprofessional AND illegal.Looking forward to your response. Again, and i don’t think i need to make this plain but I will, I do expect a response.Mark
Good Afternoon Martha,Here is the code of conduct for Trustees. Are you aware of this document?It states in 2.3 that:It is the responsibility of the Chair of the Board to bring this Code of Conduct to the attention of all trustees at the annual organizational meeting.It asks for a signature and date at the bottom of the document.Did Trustee Ross read and sign this document? Did you complete your duty with regard to this policy and get her to sign it? Are you aware this document demands an agreement to abide by the codes of conduct within? This document links to policy 213. You can find that here:In the code of conduct, which Trustee Ross should be abiding by, it states:AndPart of the roles and responsibilities of the board include:I expect a response based on my original complaint, that Trustee Ross knowingly lied about me ( a parent in this board and an FSLAC committee member, AND former employee of this board) to fellow trustees. Contravening many articles in the code of conduct. I will continue to pursue this until I am satisfied that I have been heard by this board and this group of Trustees. At this point I have not been heard. I will be taking this up the chain to the person above you if you continue to ignore my request to have my complaint taken seriously. I will not be going away. This is a very serious issue. Both your seeming lack of ability to investigate my complaint effectively and the fact that Trustee Ross lied about me to fellow trustees via electronic communication.Do you take seriously your agreement to abide by these codes of conduct? I suppose we’ll see. So far I am thoroughly unimpressed. Looking forward to your response.
I never got a response. Which is why I reached out to Martha Rogers in the first place. None of my concerns were addressed by the people who are suppose to be taking parental concerns seriously. No one explained to me why a board trustee is claiming ‘white victors’ wrote a ‘biased history’ and no one is pushing back on that trustee. No one is concerned that the trustee lied about a parent to other board trustees.
Clearly no one took any of my concerns seriously. The whole board of trustees should be ashamed of themselves. They do not serve the parents or the students of the Upper Grand District School Board.