Former Toronto principal accused of 'white supremacy' during 'diversity training' commits suicide

'Ultimately, Richard Bilkszto, 60, was concerned with fairness and respect for all learners — a mission from which he thought public education was straying,' wrote his lawyer.

Former Toronto principal accused of 'white supremacy' during 'diversity training,' and commits suicide
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The life of a former Toronto school principal has ended in tragedy. Sixty-year-old Richard Bilkszto committed suicide following accusations of 'white supremacy' at his workplace.

"With sorrow, it is announced that Richard Bilkszto passed away suddenly last Thursday, July 13, 2023, at his home in Toronto," said Bilkszto's lawyer, Lisa Bildy.

"He leaves his distraught mother, brother, nephews, niece and many other dear family and friends whose lives he touched over the years."

Bilkszto, who recently retired, served the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) for 24 years but continued to work on a contract basis for the board.

In 2021, Bilkszto attended several Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) training sessions organized by the school board, where he advocated bringing people together through "a more equality-focused, pro-human approach." 

Bildy said he experienced "an affront to that stellar reputation" after being the victim of workplace bullying, causing "severe mental stress."

This spring, Bilkszto launched a civil lawsuit against the TDSB over the alleged bullying and condemned their lottery system for specialized programs that "removed any consideration of merit."

"Ultimately, he was concerned with fairness and respect for all learners — a mission from which he thought public education was straying," wrote his lawyer.

According to his court filing with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, he alleged that DEI trainer, Kike Ojo-Thompson, demonstrated hostilities towards him.

During the session, Ojo-Thompson, CEO of the KOJO Institute, argued Canada is a "bastion of white supremacy and colonialism." She added that capitalism and 'the patriarchy' are killing people.

According to a National Post column, Bilkszto said that claim "[does] an incredible disservice to our learners," citing public health care and an equal funding system for education as examples.

Ojo-Thompson replied: "We are here to talk about anti-black racism, but you, in your whiteness, think that you can tell me what's going on for black people?"

During the next session, she reportedly said Bilkszto's comments uphold white supremacy in an attempt to derail the conversation and discredit her. 

Bilkszto subsequently went on sick leave for workplace harassment. No investigation into the alleged incident took place

However, a Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) ruling found Ojo-Thompson's conduct "abusive, egregious and vexatious and rises to the level of workplace harassment and bullying" in her treatment of the former principal.

The TDSB also sided with Bilkszto, stating KOJO demonstrated negligence by making him feel harassed, humiliated, and defamed.

But when he returned to work after six weeks of sick leave, Bilkszto lost his contract for a term as principal. The lawsuit said the alleged defamation breached his contract, resulting in $785,000 in damages.

KOJO did not return a request for comment by The Epoch Times.

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