November 10, 2022
Ms Linda Pizzolato, Chair
Trustees of Thames Valley District School Board
Dear Ms Pizzolato and Board Members,
It has come to the attention of the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation that your board put out intelligent and respectful guidelines for proper dress of all students in your district and we commend you, especially for pointing out that some messages are inappropriate for children to display in school. We are abundantly aware that the organization Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East has taken exception to your using as an example the message, “Free Palestine,” and that you may already have taken it down but we assure you that the message is absolutely associated with terrorism, demonization and threats against the Jewish people world-wide and especially against Israelis.
Please listen to this short message from an Israeli which explains that these two words may sound noble but are the introduction to a call for terrorism, in the name of social justice, resistance, liberation and other misleading, seemingly peaceful claims.
The full message is “Free Palestine from the River to the Sea,” which clearly means eradicate Israel, a call for genocide against the Jews. This is not a call for peace, justice or co-existence. Children today are being blind-sided by ideological memes, quotes, songs and simplistic messages without getting any context including history, law and ethics.
The message you listed is indeed inappropriate and terrorizing for Jewish students and staff. The national historic homeland of the Jewish people was re-constituted in the Mandate for Palestine, an area that has never been any sovereign country of any people but the Jews. There has never been a country called Palestine. Israel was in the land over 1500 years ago and Jews returned legally in 1948. That the Arabs of the area have never accepted the Jewish state and continue to disavow it and attack and kill Jews, including children, women, the elderly and other innocents is unconscionable, so let’s not pretend the message is sanguine. It is not.
With due respect, we ask that you keep the example in your guidelines and encourage peace and truth amongst students.
Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation
Response from TVDSB Chair of the Board:
December 1, 2022
Executive Director Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation
P.O. Box 77598 Sheppard Plaza PO
Toronto, ON M3H 6A&
Via email : email@example.com
Dear Director Spindel,
Thank you for sharing your feedback and resources with the Board of Trustees.
The TVDSB Guidelines for Student Dress were developed in collaboration with students, staff and the community to encourage the freedom of expression of Thames Valley students and to ensure that no student will face discrimination for dress choices related to their religion or creed, race, sex, gender identity, cultural identity, ability or size.
The board has removed the aforementioned example from the Guidelines FAQ to protect the cultural safety of all Thames Valley students and ensure that the Guidelines remain inclusive of all identities.
Thames Valley values our relationship with the Jewish community and will continue to include the community’s voice in our many equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives as we work together to combat discrimination in all forms.
Lori-Ann Pizzolato Chair of the Board
Thames Valley District School Board
Mark Fisher, Director of Education