Ontario launches investigation into DEI training that targeted educator for his 'whiteness,' causing him to take his own life

The principle described himself as left of centre and an advocate for anti-bias training.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce and the Toronto District School Board have launched an investigation into the events that led up to the death of 60-year-old Richard Bilkszto. The former principal took his own life on July 13 after succumbing to the stress of dealing with those who criticized him for supporting equality-based policies over those focused on equity. 

Bilkszto, who described himself as left of centre and an advocate for anti-bias training, was the victim of a woke mob who verbally attacked him for daring to suggest that Canada was less racist than the United States while partaking in a diversity, equity, and inclusion program operated by the KOJO Institute in 2021. He detailed the extent of the bullying he sustained in a lawsuit against the TDSB.

According to the CBC, Lecce said upon learning the news of Bilkszto's "tragic" death that the incident "only underscores the need for greater accountability of school boards and the necessity to ensure professional training is free from harassment and intimidation."

The education minister called the allegations made by Bilkszto "serious and disturbing," and vowed to "reform professional training and strengthen accountability on school boards so this never happens again."

The TDSB issued its own statement echoing Lecce's sentiments.

"While we are in the early stages of the information gathering process, we share the Ministry of Education’s desire to learn what happened and will work together with them as part of any review and make any necessary changes," the statement read.

According to Bilkszto's lawsuit, when he first made the comments, the KOJO Institute's Kike Ojo Thompson verbally harassed him, labeling him a white supremacist. He was then publicly shamed by numerous members of the organization and the school district.

The original interaction was recorded, and could be made public as the investigation continues.

Despite the treatment he received at the first event, Bilkszto went back for round two. That proved to be a mistake, and he ended up being too distraught to work, staying home on paid leave for the next month.

When he returned to school, the TDSB refused to reinstate him to his prior position, and even uninvited him from a graduation ceremony. After trying to resolve the conflict peacefully to no avail, Bilkszto decided to file a lawsuit. The TDSB, in return, sued the KOJO Institute, but the lawsuit is expected to be dropped.
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