June 22, 2011
CATHOLIC SCHOOL BOARD TRUSTEE'S RESIGNATION DEMANDED
Toronto -- Immigrant and refugee rights advocates from No One Is Illegal - Toronto and other organizations are demanding disciplinary action against Trustee Frank D'Amico at a special meeting of the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) at 80 Sheppard Avenue East on Thursday evening (June 23) at 7pm for hateful, anti-immigrant emails sent to a concerned social work student earlier this month.
The correspondence began when the placement student Nadia Saad wrote to trustees, alarmed that schools were violating TCDSB policy and the Ontario Education Act by denying admission to an undocumented student she was working with. "I contacted several trustees to bring this issue to their attention. Trustee D'Amico's response was vile. It left me shaking," she said.
In his email to Nadia, D'Amico wrote, "... unless you've been on another planet for the last decade, I will remind you, 911. September 11 the day that changed the world... she's [the student's guardian] lucky I didn't answer the phone because my first call would be to immigration Canada... i'm forwarding your concern to the RCMP and Immigration Canada".
"Why is a school board trustee comparing undocumented students with September 11 and forwarding emails to the police? Frank D'amico violated the TCDSB Code of Conduct and Ontario's Education Act and when he threatened the safety of students in schools. He must resign," says Farrah Miranda, an organizer with No One Is Illegal - Toronto.
Since 2006, No One Is Illegal - Toronto through its Education Not Deportation campaign has organized to ensure undocumented students' access to Toronto schools. In May 2007, the Toronto District School Board passed a policy to ensure access without fear for undocumented students. The Toronto Catholic School Board followed soon after. Immigrant rights advocate insist that little has been done to implement these policies .
"Past research shows that many TCDSB schools were going against their own policies with respect to theadmissions process for non-status students and were in direct contravention of the Ontario Education Act. These latest most egregious comments made by trustee D'Amico demonstrates that more work needs to be done to educate school administrators at all levels of the TCDSB on issues facing non-status immigrant communities" says Navjeet Sidhu, Social Planning Toronto, who co-authored a report on barriers to enrollment for non-status immigrant students in Toronto’s catholic schools .
For information and interviews, contact
Farrah Miranda, No One Is Illegal - Toronto
416-531-2411 x248 | firstname.lastname@example.org
 Education Not Deportation Documentary: http://vimeo.com/7698225; A voice for kids too afraid to go to school (Nov 2009, Toronto Star): http://www.parentcentral.ca/parent/education/schoolsandresources/article...
 Policy Without Practice (Jul 2010): http://socialplanningtoronto.org/reports/spt-report-released-policy-with...