Controversial Durham school trustee replaced months after second resignation

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Published June 7, 2024 at 1:13 pm

The Durham District School Board has a new voice among its trustees following the second resignation of a controversial former member.

In a special, nearly seven-hour meeting on May 28, the board chose Mark Jacula to replace Linda Stone, who stepped down back in Apri following a long string of controversies about her views on the LGBT community.

Stone came under fire numerous times over the years and has been formally reprimanded three times.

Each complainant filed a written complaint regarding a specific instance of Stone’s bigotry. Stone has a long record of sharing misinformation and outright lies about the LGBT community and transgender people specifically, both in public DDSB meetings and on social media.

Maynard did not go through each specific allegation in his report, he did outline Stone’s most egregious comments.  Most of the complaints stem from Stone’s Twitter usage in December 2022.

While complaints also concerned Stone’s COVID-19 and climate change denial, the largest concern was her transphobic comments.

Stone claimed, “gender identity was made up by a pedophile psychopath” via a retweet of Libs of Tik Tok, a social media account belonging to American real estate agent Chaya Raichik.

The debunked claim blames abusive scientist John Money for the “invention” of transgender people.  However, gender variance has existed through all of human history. Formal research began in 1919 in the Berlin Sexology Insititute until Nazis burned it down in 1933.

She also asked, “How many different pronouns must a teacher memorize. If 23 students all have different pronouns and the teacher gets one wrong, would that be grounds for a complaint?”

She also claimed puberty blockers were harmful. They aren’t and have been found to significantly reduce suicidal ideation in transgender people throughout their lives.

Additionally, Stone claimed a concern for people who “de-transition.” This rare phenomenon occurs when a trangender person returns to expressing their gender assigned at birth.

Per Bedbible studies about 1.75 per cent of transgender people detransition, 83 per cent of whom cite “social pressure” as reason. One reported, “School staff harassed and abused me daily for my gender expression.”

In her most recent reprimand last year, Integrity Commissioner Michael Maynard ruled against Stone regarding 13 complaints. He called her comments “belligerent, reductive and dismissive.”

Following the first time her comments got her in hot water, she resigned from the board. However, she ran again in the 2022 election and was among three Oshawa-elected trustees.

After the last reprimand, she resigned again in April calling her former colleagues “cowards, leftists and bullies” on X. However, she pledged to remain in the public eye and continue to express her views.

On May 28, the board held a marathon special meeting in which they heard from 40 candidates vying to replace Stone.

Ultimately, after several votes, they chose Oshawa criminal defence attorney Mark Jacula to take over Stone’s spot.

Jacula has worked in the area for more than 10 years focusing largely on drug offences. He was initially called to the bar in 2005 and first served as a federal prosecutor. He currently works as a partner at Yeghoyan & Jacula.

He will formally take his spot on the June 17.

 

 

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