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No wrongdoing of school trustees following death threats: Ombudsman

Greater Essex County District School Board office shown in this file photo in Windsor, Ont., Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. (Christie Bezaire / CTV Windsor) Greater Essex County District School Board office shown in this file photo in Windsor, Ont., Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. (Christie Bezaire / CTV Windsor)
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The Ombudsman of Ontario has cleared trustees of the Greater Essex County District School Board of any wrong doing following hundreds of complaints.

More than 300 were filed over the naming process of a new kindergarten to grade 12 school located in Kingsville in addition a series on in-camera meetings.

Ombudsman Paul Dube found no wrong doing.

Dube notes in one of two reports on Friday that concerns raised about the conduct of individual trustees does not fall under his responsibilities. Complaints about a trustee should be made to the Chair of the Board, and complaints about the Chair should be made to the Vice-Chair.

The public board’s decision to temporarily change in person school board meeting online for safety and security reasons was also under investigation surrounding the board’s gender expression policy.

During the Sept. 11, 2023 meeting, the Board’s then-Vice Chair publicly stated that two trustees had received death threats, including a threat of a shooting, before the public gallery was closed to the public.

On September 20, 2023, during a protest, a window in the Board’s private meeting room was shattered and one or more people defecated outside of the building in view of staff members’ offices.

Once the School Board had a safety plan in place, it resumed in-person attendance at its meetings.

“I commend the steps that the school board has taken to resume in-person public attendance at meetings, as required,” Dube added.

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