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Letter addressing accusations of child abuse discussed at public school board meeting (update)

The Waterloo Region District School Board released the letter Friday after a concerned parent accused the school board of child abuse
Waterloo Region District School Board
CityNews file photo

An open letter penned by the Waterloo Region District School Board continues to dominate conversation among school board trustees and parents alike.

In the letter released Friday afternoon, the board defended itself against accusations of child abuse and hiding information from parents.

The letter was discussed at Monday's public school board committee of the whole meeting, first raised by Trustee Cindy Watson.

Speaking with CityNews 570 Watson explained why she brought the concerns forward. 

"I thought that the letter was very excessive. To respond with an open letter when trustees clearly said in the motion that staff were to respond to the parent's concerns."

Watson said, she's heard concerns directly from parents in response to the open letter and worries it will set a dangerous trend regarding communication between parents and the board. 

"People are concerned that this is setting a precedent and if this mean going forward that every other parent will get there concerns blasted out through social media for everyone to see." 

Watson was joined by Trustee Mike Ramsay who has openly spoken out against the letter through social media. Trustee Watson has argued parents have a "democratic right to share their concerns." and the use of an open letter is a "marked departure from a number of WRDSB practices."

"From posting the letter is appears the boards empathy for our LGBTQ friends and neighbours was weaponized against this parent simply asking about the age appropriateness of a library book being accessible to their grade four child," said Ramsay in an interview with CityNews 570. 

"In my opinion, it brings into sharp focus the issue of parental rights that now clearly needs to be addressed at the provincial level," he added. 

The board says it wants to make it clear that just because a parent or caregiver disagrees with the Ministry of Education and Ontario Human Rights Commission's directions does not give them the right to make false claims of pandering or facilitating child abuse or pedophilia.

Since the letter was released, social media has been flooded with responses of both support and disagreement with the board's comments.

CityNews 570 reached out to the WRDSB for comment and was told no one was available to speak at this time. 

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