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Scandal at St. Michael’s College School prompts calls for greater oversight of private schools

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The scandal at St. Michael’s College School, where police are investigating allegations of assault and sexual assault, is prompting calls for greater oversight of privately run schools.

Any school, publicly funded or private, “has to have transparency and good governance,” says Charles Pascal, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

“You can’t play hide-and-seek in publicly funded schools, so it’s imperative that this long-standing free pass for private schools is replaced with better governance,” said Pascal, a former Ontario deputy minister of education.

His comments come on the heels of allegations of assault and sexual assault involving students at the all-boys grades 7-12 school, located at Bathurst St. and St. Clair Ave. W.

About two weeks ago, two videos, of an alleged assault in a washroom and an alleged sexual assault in a locker room, appeared on social media.

The principal learned of the sexual assault video on a Monday evening, but didn’t immediately notify police, because he was busy with the victim and in meetings involving the expulsion of students. On the Wednesday, around 11 a.m., police showed up at the school after media began asking them about the sexual assault video. The principal says he always intended on calling police about it.

This week, six boys were charged with assault, gang sexual assault and sexual assault with a weapon. Police are now investigating six incidents at the school including two alleged sexual assaults, three alleged assaults and one incident related to threatening.

The school’s principal and president resigned.

In Ontario, there are about 1,300 private schools, with 140,000 students, that operate as businesses or non-profit organizations, independent of the Ministry of Education, but must follow the Education Act. The Ministry doesn’t regulate, licence, accredit or oversee the operation of private schools, and has a buyer-beware type of warning on its website, urging the public to do its own research before registering for them. Information on a school’s educational program, business practices and other policies should be obtained from it directly.

The ministry, however, outlines courses students must take to obtain an Ontario Secondary School Diploma, requires private schools submit an annual Notice of Intention to Operate and inspects high schools. Principals and teachers in private schools aren’t required to be certified by the Ontario College of Teachers.

Anyone who works with children must abide by the Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA), which clearly stipulates that they have an immediate duty to report suspected abuse or harm to a children’s aid society. Public school boards have protocols in place for when they should notify police, which covers incidents such as those of sexual assault.

Barbara Bierman, executive director of Ontario Federation of Independent Schools, which represents 149 private schools, says the law is very clear in the duty to report. And, some private schools do have protocols with police, but whether they do varies by region.

“They (schools) have to have policies in place for abuse prevention and intervention,” she said. “Otherwise, they don’t get insurance.”

St. Mike’s, which is overseen by a board of directors, is a member of the Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario (CIS Ontario), an association of 48 private schools. CIS Ontario did not respond to the Star about whether its members have protocols in place.

Police welcome the opportunity to help St. Mike’s, and other private schools, with protocols, and, at a St. Mike’s alumni meeting this week, the administration said it plans to debrief with them on whether the episode could have been handled better.

Given what’s come to light at St. Mike’s, it’s time for the government to tighten its oversight of private schools, said NDP Education Critic Marit Stiles.

“It’s really kind of striking, when you look at what the Education Act requires of private schools,” Stiles said. “I think even parents of children in private schools would be surprised at how little oversight, and how little regulation, is required.”

Stiles said the government should mandate that private schools have clear processes in place when dealing with incidents such as those at St. Mike’s.

When she was a Toronto public school board trustee, she had to review, on a yearly basis, such protocols, the CYFSA, and her responsibilities as an employer.

“It’s quite striking to me that maybe that’s not required” outside the public system, she said. “At the very least, this indicates that there are some shortcomings in the private education system around understanding what people’s responsibilities are and what the protocols are, and that needs to be made clear.”

Marvin Zuker, a retired provincial court justice who is an associate professor at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, would like to see the Ontario College of Teachers regulate all teachers, whether they’re certified or not.

“Then they would be subject to the discipline of the college, and, once we can discipline you, we can get rid of you and you’re not going to go next door to teach.”

When it comes to reporting abuse, Zuker, who’s been teaching education law for nearly 40 years, always tells his students to contact a children’s aid society and police immediately. He plans on using the St. Mike’s case as an example in his lessons of what not to do, calling it “a great learning tool.”

MPP Mitzie Hunter, who served as education minister in the previous Liberal government, said, when it comes to private schools, “the expectation would be the same as all public schools: that every student is safe and there’s a trust there. When parents send their children to school, that safety is paramount and there’s no compromise on that safety.”

With 95 per cent of Ontario students attending public school, it’s a small percentage who are in the private system and it may be time to look at changes, she said.

Public boards have “various levels of supervision and trustees who are publicly elected, so there’s additional oversight. There’s no question that, in the public system, there are many layers of oversight which do not exist in the private system,” she added.

“Certainly, the ministry (of education) has a role in registering those schools and there’s an expectation that they are safe environments, but the layer of oversight is not the same.”

Kelly Gallagher-Mackay, an assistant professor of law society at Wilfrid Laurier University, said protocols with police are “helpful, but not a guarantee,” when it comes to reporting.

“Protocols are a really important part of the network of protection for children,” she said. “When you don’t have that protocol maybe you’d make more of a decision that’s sort of about the institution.”

It looks as if you appreciate our journalism. Our reporting changes lives, connects communities and effects change. But good journalism is expensive to produce, and advertiser revenue throughout the media industry is falling and unable to carry the cost. That means we need you, our readers. We need your help. If you appreciate deep local reporting, powerful investigations and reliable, responsible information, we hope you will support us through a subscription. Please click here to subscribe.

Isabel Teotonio is a Toronto-based reporter covering education. Follow her on Twitter: @Izzy74

May Warren is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @maywarren11

Kristin Rushowy is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow her on Twitter: @krushowy



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These US entities partnered with the Wuhan Institute of Virology — time for a criminal investigation?

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(Natural News) The Wuhan Institute of Virology from which the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) is believed to have “escaped” has a number of questionable partnerships that are worth looking into in light of the pandemic.

Most of them are universities, including the University of Alabama, the University of North Texas, and Harvard University. There is also the EcoHealth Alliance, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Wildlife Federation.

While the relationships between these entities and the Wuhan Institute of Virology may be completely innocent, there is no way to really say for sure without a proper investigation. And this is exactly what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is calling for, as is the nation of Australia.

Pompeo and the folks down under, along with millions of Americans, would really like to know the true origins of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). An increasing number of people simply are not buying the narrative that the novel virus originated in bat soup at a Chinese wet market, and this even includes mainstream media outlets like Fox News.

The only way to really determine what was going on at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and who else might have been involved. is to open the place up for an international investigation. But communist China is against this, of course, accusing Australia of “petty tricks” and collusion with the United States.

“Overnight, I saw comments from the Chinese Foreign Ministry talking about a course of activity with respect to Australia who had the temerity to ask for investigation,” Pompeo is quoted as saying in response to China’s aggression against a proposed investigation.

“Who in the world wouldn’t want an investigation of how this happened to the world?” he added.

As the U.S. aims to get back on track economically speaking, Pompeo believes that now is the time to hold communist China, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and whoever else may have been involved accountable for unleashing this pandemic on the world.

“Not only American wealth, but the global economy’s devastation as a result of this virus,” Pompeo further stated. “There will be a time for this. We will get that timing right.”

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New U.S. analysis finds that lab in Wuhan, China was “most likely” origin of coronavirus release

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(Natural News) While American Leftists and most of the Democrat Party continue to serve as apologists for the Chinese Communist regime over its role in creating and then perpetuating the coronavirus pandemic, a new U.S. government analysis concludes that COVID-19 “most likely” escaped from a lab near Wuhan city.

The Washington Times reports that the analysis cataloged evidence linking the outbreak to the Wuhan lab and has found that other explanations for the origins of the virus are not as credible.

The paper reported:

The document, compiled from open sources and not a finished product, says there is no smoking gun to blame the virus on either the Wuhan Institute of Virology or the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, both located in the city where the first outbreaks were reported.

However, “there is circumstantial evidence to suggest such may be the case,” the paper says.

“All other possible places of the virus’ origin have been proven to be highly unlikely,” said the report, a copy of which was obtained by the Times.

ChiCom officials have claimed that the virus’ origin is unknown. However, Beijing initially stated that coronavirus came from animals at a “wet market” in Wuhan where exotic meats are butchered and sold in disgusting conditions.

Chinese officials claim that COVID-19 went from bats to animals sold in the market last year, then infected humans.

U.S. intelligence officials have increasingly dismissed that explanation, however, as attention has begun to focus on evidence suggesting that Chinese medical researchers were working with coronavirus in the country’s only Level 4 facility, which is in Wuhan.

U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that intelligence agencies are investigating whether the virus escaped from a lab or was the result of a naturally occurring outbreak, but that analysts have ruled out reports that COVID-19 was manmade.

‘The most logical place to investigate the virus origin has been completely sealed off’

“At this point, it’s inconclusive, although the weight of evidence seems to indicate natural,” the general said on April 14, “but we don’t know for certain.”

The analysis said that the wet market explanation does not ring true because the first human diagnosis of coronavirus was made in someone who had no connection to the wet market in question. And according to Chinese reports, no bats were sold at that particular market.

At the same time, several questionable actions and a growing paper trail provide clues that the virus actually escaped from a lab, even as China begins to clamp down on those information streams.

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The biggest media lies about the coronavirus: Origins, treatments and vaccines

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(Natural News) If there is one thing that most everyone can agree on concerning the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is the fact that there is no shortage of conflicting information out there about the nature of it. And the mainstream media is certainly doing its part to steer the narrative as part of a larger agenda, using plenty of misinformation along the way.

The following are among the most commonly parroted lies about the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that aim to distort the facts and deceive you into believing falsehoods about this pandemic:

Media LIE: The virus is not man-made

From the very beginning of this thing, the official narrative was that the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) came from a Chinese wet market where bats and other “exotic” animals are sold as meat. But the world later learned that it actually more than likely “escaped” from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The mainstream media and social media platforms went nuts trying to censor this information and even called it  “fake news.” But eventually it became undeniable that bat soup was not responsible for spreading the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) around Wuhan and eventually to the rest of the world – hence why we continue to call it the Wuhan coronavirus rather than just COVID-19.

We have even seen attempts by the media machine at making the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) a racial issue because there are supposedly more “people of color” coming down with it than people with fair skin, which further detracts attention away from the source of this virus.

Media LIE: Hydroxychloroquine is extremely dangerous and doesn’t work

The minute that President Donald Trump announced that hydroxychloroquine may be an effective, and very inexpensive, remedy for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), the mainstream media immediately began decrying this claim as fake news, even though Anthony Fauci himself praised hydroxychloroquine back in 2013 under Barack Obama as being some type of “miracle cure” for SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).

There have even been studies conducted that were designed to intentionally smear the drug as both ineffective and dangerous, though one in particular purposely left out zinc, which appears to be a critical co-factor in supporting the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine – in other words, politics as usual.

Media LIE: Only a vaccine can save us from coronavirus

Many politicians and public health officials are parroting the lie that the only way America can come out of lockdown and go back to “normal” is to get vaccinated with some future vaccine for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that does not even yet exist. A vaccine, we are repeatedly told, is the only thing, or perhaps some new “blockbuster” antiviral drug, that can cure the world of this scourge and make everything happy and wonderful once again.

Meanwhile, not a peep is being made about things like intravenous (IV) high-dose vitamin C, which is being successfully used in other countries to stem the tide of infections without the need for new drugs and vaccines.

By omission, nutrition is pointless

Speaking of natural approaches to overcoming the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that are being systematically ignored by the mainstream media and most in politics, have you heard anyone mention the importance of nutrition in all of this? We did not think so, and this is intentional.

Regular readers of this site over the years should know by now that the single-most important thing you need to do to stay healthy besides exercising regularly is to feed your body the nutrition it needs to naturally ward off illnesses, including those associated with the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).

Research compiled by the Lewin Group reveals that nutritional remedies such as calcium, vitamin D, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin, and more all play a critical role in fortifying the immune system, which, if properly nourished, should have little problem fending off disease.

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