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Retired teacher files second legal challenge against public board

Carolyn Burjoski is demanding the Waterloo Region District School Board allow her to return to an upcoming board meeting to continue a presentation halted in January
Screenshot 2022-06-20 1.00.33 PM
Retired ESL teacher Carolyn Burjoski announces a second legal challenge against the Waterloo Region District School Board related to her removal from a January board meeting.

Retired teacher Carolyn Burjoski has announced a second legal action against the Waterloo Region District School Board after filing a $1.7 million lawsuit in May claiming the board defamed her.

Burjoski took to Twitter on Monday to announce that her legal team will argue that her charter rights were violated when she was removed from a public board meeting in January during which she read excerpts from two children's books found in elementary school libraries and criticized the age appropriateness of the sexual content.

Burjoski said she was removed after board chair Scott Piatkowski accused her of violating the Ontario Human Rights Code by using transphobic language in her presentation. 

During that meeting, Piatkowski said Burjoski’s comments might violate the province's protections for gender expression and gender identity.

Burjoski later told the National Post she "did not and do not question the rights of trans persons to exist in any way."

"I fully support the human rights of transgender people," she said. "I have promoted human rights throughout my entire life, and my career has been about valuing every face I look into. This isn't just about me. It's about all of us. Cancel culture needs to stop. We need to recover our ability to listen to each other and to speak with one another with open minds. Respectful dialogue is the core of democracy.

"I am concerned that school boards are abusing their power to silence and shame people who ask perfectly reasonable questions," Burjoski said in her latest Twitter post.

"Parents have a right to know what is happening in their children's schools and to voice their concerns. Boards must respect the rights of parents and teachers to free expression."

She is asking the court to overturn the board's decision to stop her presentation.

The action is separate from the defamation suit that claims the resulting "media frenzy" from her removal from the meeting caused her to go on medical leave and retire from her teaching career.