'Large-Scale Pushback': 21 'Non-Woke' Trustees Elected in Ontario Public School System

'Large-Scale Pushback': 21 'Non-Woke' Trustees Elected in Ontario Public School System
Twenty-one 'non-woke' trustees were elected to public school boards across Ontario during the province's municipal elections on Oct. 24. (Geoff Robins/AFP via Getty Images)
Peter Wilson

Twenty-one 'non-woke' trustees were elected to public school boards across Ontario during the province's municipal elections on Oct. 24, says the founder of the website "VoteAgainstWoke.ca."

"A movement has started," said the anonymous founder—who goes by the pseudonym "Matt" to protect his identity—in an email to The Epoch Times.

"This is the first time in Canada we've seen a large-scale pushback against the woke."

Matt started VoteAgainstWoke in late September to help voters understand which trustee candidates advocated for parental choice in schools and were against expanding curriculum items like gender theory and critical race theory.

Twenty-four Catholic school board trustees that VoteAgainstWoke endorsed were also elected.

Teresa Pierre, founder and president of the Ontario advocacy group Parents As First Educators (PAFE), said the number of elected trustees that PAFE endorsed was even higher than those endorsed by VoteAgainstWoke.
"We're very pleased with the outcomes that we saw," Pierre told The Epoch Times in an interview. "There are boards that haven't had pro-parental-rights candidates in them before that now do."

'Tipping Point'

PAFE doesn't publicize its list of endorsed candidates, but Pierre said they saw a marked difference in results this year compared to the last municipal election.

"Things have just reached a tipping point in the board with respect to parents being frustrated with the woke ideologies and gender ideology that they're finding in the schools," she said.

"The case of the teacher in Halton was probably a motivator for this election cycle as well," said Pierre, referring to the high school teacher in the Halton District School Board (HDSB) who made international headlines in September after being videotaped wearing large prosthetic breasts with protruding nipples in class.

Margo Shuttleworth, who was re-elected chair of the HDSB this week, previously said the school board supported the teacher's actions "as prescribed by the Ontario Charter of Human Rights."

Newly-elected HDSB trustee Xin Yi Zhang addressed the teacher's actions in an email to The Epoch Times, saying the school board should implement "a dress code for teachers."

"Students are the clients of the school," Zhang wrote. "The decision should be made by the parents who have children in the school."

The 2021-2022 student dress code at Oakville Trafalgar High School, where the teacher works, states that students cannot wear clothes that "exposes or makes visible genitals and nipples." The dress code does not designate clothing regulations for staff and faculty.

"This issue should be resolved by the current board members," Zhang said.

Within the Halton District, three candidates endorsed by VoteAgainstWoke, including Zhang, were elected to the trustee board. Shuttleworth retained her seat.

Waterloo Board

Three Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) trustee candidates endorsed by VoteAgainstWoke were also elected or re-elected on Oct. 24.
WRDSB trustee Mike Ramsay, who is currently involved in a lawsuit against the board's chair Scott Piatkowski, was re-elected. Ramsay was suspended from attending board meetings from June to September following allegations that he broke the trustee code of conduct.
Ramsay released documents in a Twitter post on Oct. 2 that he said showed his suspension was related to his public criticism of the board and Piatkowski, who was also re-elected this week.
Ramsay had criticized Piatkowski on social media after a teacher in the WRDSB was ejected from a school trustee board meeting after voicing concerns about the age-appropriateness of sexual content in certain books in the district's school libraries.
 Waterloo Region District School Board trustee Mike Ramsay. (Handout)
Waterloo Region District School Board trustee Mike Ramsay. (Handout)
Teacher Carolyn Burjoski was cut short in the middle of her presentation on Jan. 17 by Piatkowski, who said he was concerned that her comments violated the Ontario Human Rights Code.

At the following board meeting on Jan. 24, trustee Mike Ramsay called on Piatkowski to apologize for his actions against Burjoski, but the chairman refused. Several months later, the board voted to suspend Ramsay.

Bill Cody, a newly-elected WRDSB trustee, said he believes the board has become "disconnected from the parents."

"We cannot ignore how the accumulated problems within a dysfunctional board affect our kids," Cody wrote to The Epoch Times.

He said schools need to end all "age-inappropriate curriculum and policies, as well as their politicized and divisive responses."

"Differing opinions can strengthen decision-making, and can expand possibilities," he said. "If done respectfully, opinions should be able to be shared, without fear of repercussions, intimidation, or being labeled."

"It is our kids who suffer the consequences when political agendas turn our schools into battlefields."

Jared Gnam contributed to this report.