In a court in Ontario, a judge has ruled that a retired schoolteacher’s defamation lawsuit may proceed against a regional school board.
The legal dispute emerged after the schoolteacher, Carolyn Burjoski, and the Waterloo Region District School Board disputed the age-appropriateness of two books in elementary school libraries.
The dispute occurred on January 17, 2022, in an online meeting. Each book focused on a youthful sexual-minority character.
While Burjoski expressed her concerns about the books, Scott Piatkowski, the chair of the board, cut off her presentation. He said Burjoski’s remarks could violate the Ontario Human Rights Code. Other school trustees upheld his decision in a vote.
Burjoski said that Piatkowski subsequently misrepresented her views and defamed her in various media. Piatkowski denied the accusations. In May 2022, Burjoski filed a defamation lawsuit against the board, and the board tried to have the lawsuit dismissed.
On November 23, 2023, Justice James Ramsay of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled that Burjoski’s lawsuit may proceed. “The Human Rights Code does not prohibit public discussion of issues related to transgenderism or minors and transgenderism,” he wrote. “It does not prohibit public discussion of anything.”
The staff members of CityNews Kitchener report:
Jennifer K. Baker of CTV News Kitchener reports:
The staff members of Cambridge Today report:
Kate Bueckert of CBC News reports:
Ex-teacher silenced for book views can proceed with lawsuit against Waterloo region board after court ruling | CBC News
Spencer Turcotte of CTV News Kitchener reports:
The National Post reports:
In the National Post, Barbara Kay comments:
In the National Post, Julia Malott comments:
In the New Hamburg Independent, Luisa D’Amato comments:
Time for the school board to learn its lesson (newhamburgindependent.ca)
The Book and Periodical Council was formed in 1975 as the Book and Periodical Development Council to provide a venue for members to discuss industry issues, address mutual concerns and undertake projects for the benefit of Canadian writing and publishing.