Toronto Catholic District School Board trustee Mike Del Grande is currently before a tribunal. If found guilty, he can be stripped of his teaching licence and face economic punishment. As for Del Grande’s sin? Apparently, his defence of Catholic moral teaching with respect to gender ideology is offside with the increasingly woke TCDSB!
Specifically, Del Grande is in the hot seat with the Ontario College of Teachers because he objected to a fellow trustee’s motion to add “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the TCDSB’s code of conduct policy. Del Grande argued that to do so would make for a violation of Catholic doctrine. Alas, a Catholic school board trustee standing up for Catholic values in a Catholic school district is apparently, in some circles, an act of “transphobia.”
While Del Grande has been advised by his legal counsel not to speak to the media until the tribunal has concluded, we did reach out to Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life who has been covering the Del Grande inquisition.
We interviewed Fonseca who noted there was recently a small victory for Del Grande regarding the removal of Anthony Jeethan, one of the judges comprising the tribunal.
Del Grande’s lawyer introduced a motion stating that Jeethan's presence on the judicial panel represented “a reasonable apprehension of bias.”given that Jeehan publicly describes himself as “a queer person of colour”. Indeed, at the hearing, Jeethan made a point of saying that the proper way to refer to him was "they/them".
He also requested to be addressed by his preferred transgender pronoun of "Mx" (instead of “Mr.”) We have no idea how to pronounce Mx by the way, but amazingly, one of the judges was demanding that Del Grande refer to Jeethan using that particular transgender pronoun.
Fonseca notes that Mx Jeethan is a teacher at Lakehead University, and in a recent 2019 article titled Out In the Cold, he admitted to being “an LGBT activist”, “a bullied victim of homophobia”, and wrote that he does “not trust (school) administration”.
Jeethan also wrote that he believes “the nature of education is... political”, as opposed to how most reasonable people would consider the nature of education to be, which is academic.
Fonseca states: “This LGBT activist, recruited by the College to sit as a judge, and who would be deciding the guilt or innocence of a faithful Catholic, also wrote that he’s informed by moral relativism and that there is no such thing as ‘moral truth’. Could you ask for a more biased court? To top it off, if the OCT finds Del Grande guilty, they could order him to pay for this very expensive proceeding.”
The good news is that Del Grande’s lawyer, Dr. Charles Lugosi, proved that an average person who is considering the nature of the complaint against Del Grande, together with Mr. Jeethan’s writings, could perceive “a reasonable apprehension of bias” and that the judge would likely find it difficult to be impartial.
The OCT's legal counsel ended up concurring with his point that the panel member was a self-admitted "activist" and Jeethan, with great reluctance, recused himself from the panel.
In the meantime, Fonseca states: “Please pray for Mike’s legal counsel to succeed in persuading the remaining panel judges;
- that Trustee Del Grande was within his rights to defend Catholic teaching,
- that the College has no jurisdiction to regulate the free speech rights of democratically-elected school board trustees, and
- that he's found not guilty of teacher misconduct, especially given that he was in a school board meeting, not teaching in a classroom.
The inquisition continues next month. Stay tuned for an update.