Sanctions against controversial Oshawa trustee Linda Stone re-affirmed Monday night

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Published March 8, 2023 at 11:30 am

The Durham District School Board has re-affirmed their year-long censure of controversial trustee Linda Stone, who has repeatedly gotten herself in trouble due to a long record of comments deemed transphobic and racist.

Stone, who resigned from the board last May and then was re-elected in October’s election, was  barred from sitting on committees for the rest of the year and censured a month ago, following a report from Integrity Commissioner Senior Investigator Benjamin Drory.

Drory began investigating Stone more than a year ago, following complaints from then-councillors Niki Lundquist, Scott Templeton and Darlene Forbes – as well as members of the public – but stopped the inquiries after Stone resigned.

The complaints concerned Stone repeatedly raising concerns about the board facilitating students who transition, the use of puberty blockers to aid transition, and people who “de-transition,” an unusual reversal of the gender transition process.

Stone’s comments at the time were publicly condemned by her fellow trustees, the board itself and several LGBT advocacy groups such as PFLAG Durham.

Additionally, Stone argued the phrase ‘white supremacy,’ which was condemned in a draft of the new Durham District School Board Human Rights Policy, was derogatory to white people.

The investigation into Stone’s behaviour and comments came at the same time as an investigation into another councillor, Paul Crawford. The findings of this investigation, later dubbed the Crawford Report, outlined the principles that would later apply to the Stone investigation.

In the Crawford Report, Drory found trustees had somewhat more limited abilities to voice ‘political speech’ than officials in other municipal offices, such as city councillors.

This is due to the fact that such speech may deal harm to members of the school community and, therefore, “may run counter to their overarching obligation of advancing public education equitably, and can be contrary to the Code of Conduct,” Drory wrote.

When Stone rejoined the board last fall, the Board of Trustees had Dory to re-open his investigation, with Stone continuing to come under fire for more comments deemed transphobic.

Drory said in his findings released a month ago that there are fundamental differences between trustees and other elected officials, noting that trustees are there to “help the local education system.”

“Stone’s comments respecting gender identity issues plainly failed to meet the expected standard. Her comments insulted and demeaned trans people, and it would frankly be difficult for me to believe any argument to the contrary,” Drory said.

Stone, however, took offense to her censure and told the Board of Trustees in a letter the decision to sanction her was “wrong on many grounds, adding she doesn’t “exactly know” what her offending comments were, calling the report “vague.”

“It is impossible to defend myself or respond to the decision.”

The Board of Trustees held a special meeting in February, following the release of Drory’s report, and found Stone guilty of six counts of breaching the Code.

Monday night (March 6) at another special board meeting, the Board of Trustees re-affirmed Stone’s sanctions.

And just like at the previous meeting, the vote was unanimous.

With files from Liam McConnell

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