The union representing frontline education workers in Ontario is calling on Premier Doug Ford to take action after three of its offices in London, Ont. They were found vandalized with messages condemning gender ideology in schools.
Employees at the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) said hundreds of stickers with phrases like “Keep gender politics out of school” and “Don’t touch our children” were plastered all over their buildings Tuesday morning. At a construction site in east London, the front garden sign was damaged and the glass shattered.
“I was shocked and speechless,” said Mary Henry, president of CUPE Local 4222. “There were about 300 stickers and they were everywhere for no reason.”
London police said in an email Wednesday night that they are aware of vandalism at CUPE buildings and that investigations are active and ongoing.
The union represents early childhood educators, secretaries, custodians, maintenance technicians and various assistants across the Thames Valley District School Board and the London Catholic District School Board.
Henry believes the messages were related to the “March 4th 1 Million Kids,” planned across the country on Wednesday. Some parents and socially conservative groups have said they will protest LGBTQ-inclusive education policies in the classroom and in extracurricular settings under the banner of parental rights.
Critics and researchers say the term “parental rights” is a misnomer because it does not address the concerns of LGBTQ parents or parents of LGBTQ children.
Henry said the Prime Minister and Education Minister Stephen Lecce must address the environment being created against LGBTQ children.
“They need to take action against this because it is aimed at children and they are innocent bystanders who are doing their best to be themselves,” he said.
“This is unacceptable behavior that must be addressed quickly.”
Breaking: reached out to Ford and Lecce’s offices for comment Tuesday night and will update this story once a response has been received.
Laura Walton, president of CUPE’s Council of Unions of Ontario School Boards, said in a statement that the vandalism was aimed at intimidating workers.
“Vandalism is a classic intimidation tactic that has been used against organized workers and oppressed peoples by mobs opposed to freedom, equality and justice around the world,” Walton said.
The Thames Valley District School Board told union employees to work remotely Wednesday as a safety measure ahead of planned protests.