The school board submitted a statement of defence on July 11, denying the allegations claimed in the lawsuit.
“The irony is thick.”
Age-AppropriatenessBurjoski, who retired on Jan. 31, was registered as a delegation to the Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 17 and was allotted 10 minutes to speak.
During her presentation, she read excerpts from two children’s books available in her elementary school libraries and criticized the age-appropriateness of their sexual content.
One of the books was “Rick” by Alex Gina, in which the main character, a young boy named Rick, questions his sexuality because he doesn’t think about naked girls like his friends do. He later declares an asexual identity after joining the school’s rainbow club.
The second book was “The Other Boy” by M.G. Hennessy, in which the female character identifies as a boy and takes puberty blockers and testosterone as part of her medical sex transition.
ClaimsIn her statement of claim filed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Burjoski said the interviews Piatkowski gave on CTV News and 570 News—on Jan. 18 and Jan. 19 respectively—about the meeting were “false and defamatory” that “maliciously” damaged her professional reputation.
“There were comments [from Burjoski] that were, frankly, transphobic that were questioning the right to exist of trans people,” Piatkowski said on CTV News at the time.
Among several comments he made on 570 News, Piatkowski said Burjoski was “not respectful or courteous towards transgender people.”
“And this delegate was speaking about transgender people in a way that would cause them to be attacked,” he said.
The retired teacher also said in her claim that Piatkowski shared a tweet on Jan. 17 that likened her presentation to “hate or derogatory speech,” followed by another one the next day, referring to her speech as a “Bat Signal” directed to “every transphobe on Twitter.” Both tweets have since been removed.
In addition, her claim noted that the WRDSB published a statement to all staff on Jan. 20 to “express our deep regret for any harm caused to the transgender community,” and a second one on Jan. 25 that they have “taken the necessary steps to reduce harm to WRDSB students, staff, and community and reduce its legal exposure” by stopping Burjoski’s presentation and not sharing the video with the public.
“These statements have been widely disseminated in local media reports, radio, television, social media, Twitter, and other online forums, as well as the WRDSB website and to all WRDSB staff,” the statement of claim said.
DefenceIn the statement of defence filed on July 11, the WRDSB and Piatkowski argued that due to “significant” public interest in Burjoski’s case at the time, Piatkowski agreed to do the media interviews and participated in the discussion on Twitter in his capacity as chair.
The defendants pleaded that none of their comments on Burjoski bore or was capable of bearing any defamatory meaning. “The conduct of the media was not within the control and/or responsibility of the defendants,” they said.
They added that their remarks were made in “good faith and no malice” and they had no intention to inflict mental or emotional harm on Burjoski, which she claimed in her statement. On the contrary, they alleged the former elementary teacher was attempting to “silence” them and suppress freedom of expression.
‘Gaslight’Burjoski, who worked as a WRDSB teacher for over 20 years, says the board’s attempts to deny her claims won’t work.
“This Board seems to think they can gaslight an entire community and even the Court into believing the exact opposite of what is actually true,” she said in her latest video.
She said while she fully supports the rights of the LGBT community, she is opposed to inappropriate books in school libraries.
“What I do not support is the Board’s silencing, shaming, and punishment of anyone who criticizes the age-appropriateness of Board policies based on Gender Theory,” she said.
“If the School Board has policies and practices with the potential to harm children, then parents and teachers have an obligation to speak up and a right to be heard.”
The Epoch Times reached out to the WRDSB for comment. In response, spokesperson Eusis Dougan-McKenzie said, “We do not comment on ongoing legal issues.”