The plot thickens for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), as records indicate the board gave the KOJO Institute an $81,000 contract to train staff on "diversity, equity and inclusion."
A 2020 TDSB agenda obtained by the Toronto Sun revealed the board gave the institute an $81,000 contract for DEI work from July 2020 to May 2021 — covering the period when Ojo-Thompson allegedly bullied a Toronto principal who later committed suicide.
According to a lawsuit filed by Richard Bilkszto against the TDSB, he alleged that Ojo-Thompson bullied, shamed, humiliated and repeatedly called him a "white supremacist" after he politely challenged her talking points.
On April 26, 2021, Bilkszto refuted her claim that Canada is a "bastion of white supremacy and colonialism."
According to a National Post column, the principal alleged her remarks "do an incredible disservice to our learners," citing public health care and an equal funding system for education as examples disproving her ideas.
The trainer replied: "We are here to talk about anti-black racism, but you, in your whiteness, think you can tell me what's going on for black people?"
On May 3, 2021, she reportedly said the Toronto principal upheld "white supremacy" to derail the conversation.
Bilkszto subsequently went on sick leave for workplace harassment but lost his employment at Burnhamthorpe Collegiate and elsewhere upon returning six weeks later, according to the lawsuit.
The allegations outlined have yet to be tested in court.
Unfortunately, Bilkszto tragically ended his life on July 13, 2023, owing to the stress from the confrontation at the DEI training.
On July 26, Ontario's Ministry of Education ordered a review into DEI training for teaching staff, "so this never happens again."
Education Minister Stephen Lecce told the Toronto Sun this matter is "serious" and "disturbing," as "no staff member should ever be subject to harassment while in their place of work."
While severe board trustees urged the ministry to pause all DEI training pending their investigation into the circumstances that led to Bilkstzo's passing, an Education spokesperson confirmed the training would continue.
"While the review into these disturbing allegations will occur, we remain firm that professional anti-racism and anti-discrimination training will continue," a spokesperson told reporters on Wednesday.
"We will continue this important work to remove barriers that [prevent] too many children from reaching their full potential."
In a statement, Ojo-Thompson said she welcomed the ministry's review, offering condolences to Bilkszto's family. However, she firmly denied the allegations the former principal made against her.
"The death of Richard Bilkszto is a tragedy, and all of us at KOJO Institute offer our condolences to his loved ones," she said.
"The allegations against me and KOJO Institute within Mr. Bilkszto's lawsuit against the Toronto District School Board are false, and we are not a party to the lawsuit. We only learned of the mischaracterization of events detailed in the Statement of Claim filed against the Board two years after the workshop."
The consultancy recently charged Sarnia Police and City Council $6,000 for similar training that ended in disaster.
Councillor Bill Dennis told True North he opposed the "critical race theory" being peddled by DEI trainer Kike Ojo-Thompson.
For $6,000, the sessions for city staff, council and local law enforcement quickly turned into a "radical [session]" telling white people "you should feel ashamed of yourself," according to Dennis.
"She's very, very militant," he said. "She was very self-righteous, smug and condescending."
Ojo-Thompson claims, "This incident is being weaponized to discredit and suppress the work of everyone committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion."
"While the coverage by right-wing media of this controversy is disappointing and led to our organization and team members receiving threats and vitriol online, we will not be deterred from our work in building a better society for everyone."
TDSB also launched an investigation into the circumstances contributing to Bilkszto's death, and are defending regular DEI training sessions for staff during the ministry's review, claiming they're "important."