A school board's message:Women good, men bad

Barbara Kay, National Post

Published: Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Peel District School Board is one of Canada's largest, as its $1-billion budget, 13,000 academic staff, 145,000 students and 226 schools attest. Imagine the burden of responsibility felt by its trustees, knowing so many tender and malleable young minds are in their hands.

So if signing off on an official school board document, a pamphlet say, tasked with guiding thousands of teachers in negotiating sensitive domestic issues with certain students, such a board would to a man and woman rigorously interrogate its text to ensure the accuracy of the facts and the objectivity of their provenance. The last thing the trustees would want is to perpetuate falsehoods or half-truths, certainly not any calculated to arouse teachers' prejudice against half the student body for no good reason.

In 2000, the Peel District School Board accepted a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Education and the Ontario Women's Directorate, specifically tied to programming around violence against women. The context of the chosen project was determined to be domestic violence. Breaking the Silence was construed as a teachers' guide for identifying and helping children who witness violence in their homes.