Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Despite a trustee receiving a threat saying she would be killed if she showed up, a meeting of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board went ahead last night.
Trustee Nili Kaplan-Myrth took to Twitter Tuesday afternoon to post the short, antisemitic, and violent message she said was sent to her only a few hours before the meeting.
The message explicitly told the trustee that if she attended in person her “rainbow shirt will end up blood red” warning that “we will be armed, and “we will take care of business if you defend the trannies and their perverted ideology.”
The threat references quotes by Kaplan-Myrth appearing in the media committing to attend the board meeting, telling reporters if the meeting went ahead in person, she would be there with a “rainbow shirt on.”
“I just received this death threat. This has to stop,” Kaplan-Myrth wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “I will not resign. I will not be intimidated into silence. Whether the sender is in Ottawa or elsewhere, threats like this interfere with democracy.”
Kaplan-Myrth has been at the centre of a recent controversy after she cut the microphone of a delegate during a previous meeting. On March 7, parent Nick Morabito began espousing his concerns about the safety of allowing transgender students to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity. Roughly a minute into his talk, Kaplan-Myrth silenced the microphone, calling his comments transphobic.
Since that meeting, a petition was started that garnered thousands of signatures before the host, Change.org, took it down. Kaplan-Myrth reports a flood of other threats coming in as the petition received coverage among both fringe and far-right media. Many include slurs that target Jewish people, as well as explicitly violent threats against the trustee.
On Tuesday, attendees signed up to delegate, including people both for and against the accommodation of transgender students in Ottawa’s public schools. Included among the delegates was Morabito, speaking to a packed house, CTV News reports that over 200 people were turned away at the door.
“The current bathroom inclusion policy allows for anyone to self-identify at any point in time and immediately gain access to these unsupervised bathrooms or change rooms,” Morabito told the board. “To pretend this policy isn’t being or can not be abused for ulterior motives and ask parents in this community to ignore that fact and simply accept that policy with no discussion is a lot to ask.”
He also claimed that teachers and students are afraid to use school bathrooms due to a variety of issues.
Following Morabito's comments, failed 2022 trustee candidate Shannon Boschy used his time to say the board should apologize to Morabito.
Boschy is a financial planner and partner at the Ottawa-area firm where he works. Sometimes shooting videos from the office, he has penned multiple blog posts complete with accompanying videos since at least December of 2020, focusing primarily on the “dangerous social contagion” – an idea debunked by medical doctors – he has identified as the “gender ideology” – i.e. transgender people.
He earned 9.55% of the vote during the most recent trustee elections, losing to incumbent Trustee Lyra Evans, a transgender woman.
Shannon Boschy’s delegation was immediately followed by Andy Boschy. Andy is a transgender man, Shannon’s son, and an outspoken opponent of his father’s advocacy.
“The fact I must come in here and defend my fellow trans siblings' right to exist in public is abhorrent. It should not be my or any other trans person's job to come in here and denounce hateful and bigoted ideologies.”
Other portions addressed the struggles and attacks that transgender people continue to face.
“With growing frequency, we are seeing attacks on the rights of transgendered people as a whole,” Andy told the board. “We are called groomers, pedophiles, and violent. We are accused of mutilating children and endangering women.
“All this for simply existing and living our lives as anyone else would.”
Other delegates included a parent of queer students who gave statistics about the challenges faced by 2SLGBTQ+ students and evidence-based teaching methods, members of the transgender community sharing their lived experience, and condemnation of statements that put other’s identities into question.
The current policy of the OCDSB is for students to use the bathroom they identify with.
Editor's Note: The Canadian Anti-Hate Network has agreed to provide a paid service to the Ottawa Carleton District School Board. CAHN Chair Bernie Farber also provides paid services to the OCDSB in a personal capacity separate from CAHN.