Pro IQRA News Updates.
The Waterloo Region District School Board and Chairman Scott Piatowski believe a former teacher is trying to use a $1.75 million defamation lawsuit to silence them.
In a statement of defense, the board and the chair claim the case filed by Carolyn Burjoski was brought forward to “silence the defendants and silence the expression of others” who support the LGBTQ2S+ community.
The lawsuit was filed after Piatowski stopped Burjoski’s middle delegation during the Jan. 17 school board meeting. At the time, she spoke about the content of some books found in elementary school libraries and criticized the age appropriateness of some of the books on sexuality and transgender-identity issues.
The chair stopped her delegation, claiming he was concerned she was violating the Ontario Human Rights Code, and Burjoski was removed from the virtual meeting. A video recording of this meeting was taken from social media.
Burjoski claims the actions of the board and the chairman on that day, and on the days that followed, caused her significant embarrassment, distress, anxiety and harm and that they wrongly labeled her as transphobic and a bigot.
The board’s statement of defense denies the allegations, instead asserting that any damage to Burjoski’s reputation “is the result of the plaintiff’s own conduct.”
The statement of defense also notes that the chair has a duty to protect LGBTQ2S+ students, staff and families from discrimination and bullying because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and adds that they did not intend to inflict emotional distress on Burjoski not to do
The document also calls the damages “excessive and remote” and requests that the lawsuit be dismissed with costs.
Burjoski responded to the statement of defense through a video posted on social media.
“What I didn’t expect is that this board who cut off my presentation and removed me from the trustees meeting, in their defense, banned me from speaking to my students and colleagues and publicly vilified my reasonable comments as transphobic hate speech now advocating. before the court that I am trying to suppress their free expression by suing them. The irony is thick,” she says.