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While police investigate, St. Michael’s school takes on painful process of reform

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In the second video, a different student is seen being slapped by a group of boys while sitting in a sink in his underwear. He does not appear physically harmed. Toronto police have said they are investigating two more videos — one that appears to show an assault with a weapon (a belt) and one depicting a threat — as well as four additional incidents.

Among the steps Leung said the school is taking are: cancelling the junior and varsity football seasons for the 2019-20 academic year as well as the 2018-19 varsity basketball season; counselling for students and staff; launching an anonymous tip line to report bad behaviour; and mandatory workshops on “building awareness, respect, coping and resiliency.”

The school also announced who will be leading its independent respect and culture review, expected to deliver its report by summer 2019: lawyer Mark Sandler, York University psychology professor Debra J. Pepler, former Ontario deputy education minister Bruce Rodrigues and Priti Sachdeva, former legal counsel at the Office of the Children’s Lawyer.

The review will examine the school’s policies and practices for dealing with assault and hazing, among other things.

St. Mike’s is following in the footsteps of a number of schools and organizations who have said that educating student athletes is key to avoiding future hazing incidents.

Following a publicized incident of hazing at Carleton University in 2009 — when the women’s varsity soccer team was suspended for an initiation that included excessive drinking — the school implemented an educational session that it provides to student athletes at the beginning of each year.

The session addresses alternative team-building activities and includes examples of hazing incidents, said Jennifer Brenning, assistant vice-president, recreation and athletics. As far as she knows, there have been no similar incidents at the school since 2009.

“Obviously it’s a very important issue and I think more conversations need to be had with student athletes about the negative aspects, the negativity around hazing, and that it’s not helpful for the team to be successful,” she told the Star.

McGill University put in place a similar mandatory program following hazing incidents in 2015 involving excessive drinking that saw the men’s and women’s basketball teams put on probation. This was 10 years after another high-profile incident at the school, in which 18-year-old student D’Arcy McKeown — himself a St. Mike’s alumnus — was sexually assaulted with a broomstick while football teammates cheered in 2005.

“Just having strict policies is not enough. At the end of the day, education is key,” interim deputy provost, student life and learning, Fabrice Labeau, told the Star.

He said the players implicated in the 2015 incidents helped in the development of the new training, which also involves definitions of hazing, the concept of being an active bystander and understanding team-building. Labeau said there’s a “significant difference” when testing the students before and after the training on their understanding of hazing.

In September 2005, four rookies on the Windsor Spitfires hockey team were subjected to an initiation rite called the “sweat box” in which the players were told to strip naked and pile into the washroom at the back of the team bus. In response, the Ontario Hockey League suspended the Spitfires’ coach and fined the team $35,000.

After the incident, the league says it enhanced its anti-hazing policy, including placing a stronger emphasis on player education around acceptable behaviours and requiring players to acknowledge in writing that they understand league policies.

In 2010, the league created the position of enforcement officer/director of security to ensure compliance with policies around player recruitment, player benefits and player environment. Paul Krotz, director of communications for the OHL, said since the creation of the position, “there have been zero incidents or complaints of hazing brought forward for investigation.”

The type of alleged behaviour at St. Mike’s is certainly not unique to the private Roman Catholic school, but alumni and experts say that an all-male setting geared toward excellence in sports with a win-at-all-costs mentality can lead to an abusive atmosphere.

Some former students found themselves reeling from the relegations over the last month of alleged assault, sexual assault and hazing — and the possibility of more to come — while for others, there was a ring of familiarity to the news.

“I had the same knot in my stomach, that same shortness of breath, that same kind of dizzy, nauseous feeling all week long, as I was immediately that kid being vulnerable in that situation,” said former St. Mike’s student Jean-Paul Bédard, who says he experienced an incident of sexual violence in a locker room at the school in the early 1980s.

“(The school) has an opportunity in becoming the leader to change the dialogue,” said Bédard. “They can become the leader not only in sports, not only in academics, but also in producing young men who respect other young men and hopefully that translates to respecting women.”

Humberto Carolo, executive director of White Ribbon, a not-for-profit organization that works with men and boys to promote gender equality and end gender-based violence, said the group recently signed an agreement with St. Mike’s to provide training, workshops and programming, among other things, for staff and students around healthy masculinity.

Next Wednesday, for example, White Ribbon will hold a training session for all of St. Mike’s staff that will touch on toxic masculinity, violence and strengthening the school’s approach to handling disclosures from students who have experienced violence or discrimination, he said.

Carolo said his organization will contribute to the school’s culture review by consulting with students, staff, parents and alumni about their feelings and experiences, and will develop curriculum around healthy masculinity for all grades and examine school policies for areas in need of strengthening.

“One of the things that we mentioned to the school is that this needs to be addressed at a deeper and longer level. It cannot be a band-aid solution. It cannot be just a one-off workshop or education session for students,” Carolo said, noting he is impressed with the school’s commitment and willingness to engage in cultural change.

The events of recent weeks are not the first time St. Mike’s has made the news for violent, hazing-like behaviour. In 1999, an 18-year-old football player was tied naked to a goalpost and pelted with raw eggs by several Grades 12 and 13 students.

Then-school vice-principal Vince Pagano forced the team to forfeit the season-opening game after he learned of the incident, but did not involve police because “the victim and his mother agreed to treat it an as internal matter,” The Canadian Press reported at the time.

“If you dump the program then the penalty is too harsh, and if you send a warning, then we’re brushing things over. We know this is serious and the players realize the serious nature of what occurred,” Pagano was quoted as saying at the time.

Pagano is now headmaster at Crestwood Prepatory College, a private, coed, non-denominational school in Toronto. Reached by the Star recently, Pagano declined an interview request about St. Mike’s by saying: “Continued connections to the school and a heart now broken on a daily basis prevents me from intervening at this time.”

Founded in 1852 in the basement of the Bishop’s Palace on Church St. by the Basilian Fathers, St. Michael’s College School has prided itself on rigorous academic programming that aims to teach its boys “goodness, discipline, and knowledge” according to its motto. The school moved to its current campus at Bathurst St. and St. Clair Ave. W. in 1950.

The school has produced well-known politicians including former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader and Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown and former Toronto city councillors Josh Colle and Joe Mihevc.

But it is the school’s commitment to highly-competitive athletics that is most closely associated with the St. Mike’s name. Alumni include former NHLers Murray Costello, Dave Keon and Frank Mahovlich, as well as current Canadian Football League player Derek Wiggan.

“There was always a high level of respect among your fellow players and the coaches,” said D’Arcy McKeown, who played on the senior football team in the early 2000s. “The coaches didn’t put up with any bulls— or hijinks, anything like that.”

After he was sexually assaulted at McGill in 2005, McKeown left the university and returned to St. Mike’s to work with the senior football team, calling it his “safe spot.” He said he never heard of any violent behaviour at St. Mike’s while he was student or when he returned.

Alumnus and former student council president Liam Mather said while his experience at St. Mike’s was a positive one, hypermasculinity permeated the school in the forms of physical and verbal aggression and homophobia as boys sought to exercise dominance over each other.

Mather said this kind of behaviour went unchecked at the school, but that St. Mike’s has a responsibility to crack down on it.

“I do think there is a responsibility of the school because their pitch to prospective students is that they educate the entire boy. They make the boy into a good man, so to speak,” said Mather, who graduated in 2013.

He said when he heard about the recent allegations, he felt a sense of guilt.

“I immediately connected the assault to the negative part of the school’s culture,” he said. “And I felt guilt that when I was a student there, I wasn’t more conscious of these problems with the culture. I felt guilt that as a student leader, I didn’t fight against them.”

For McKeown, who has been shaken by the allegations, alumni can play an important role in ensuring that St. Mike’s becomes a much safer school for its students, by supporting the administration in making the necessary changes.

“I hope that myself as well as the rest of the people who were a part of the St. Mike’s family can check their reputations and egos at the door and ultimately realize that what we need to do is use our resources and experiences … and eventually make St. Mike’s an even better place to graduate from.

“But it’s going to take time and effort.”

Kenyon Wallace is a Toronto-based investigative reporter. Follow him on Twitter: @KenyonWallace or reach him via email: kwallace@thestar.ca

Jacques Gallant is a Toronto-based reporter covering legal affairs. Follow him on Twitter: @JacquesGallant



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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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