(RepublicanDaily.org) – Friends and colleagues of former Toronto Principal Richard Bilkszto are demanding an official inquiry after he committed suicide on Thursday, July 20 following years of harrassment. Bilkszto took his own life after more than two decades serving in Canada’s education field.
In 2021, Bilkszto came under fire during a diversity training workshop for members of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) when he disagreed that Canada was more “racist” than the US. Session leaders referred to his remarks at the TDSB training session as exactly the kind of “white supremacy” they were trying to uproot, and the TDSB itself didn’t step in to defend Bilkszto.
The stress and damage of this 2021 incident led to Bilkszto missing months of work and getting worker’s compensation for the mental health struggles he was having at the time. The TDSB said they would not look further into the public humiliation he had suffered and in fact took back an offer they’d made to him to move up within the school board. They also said he wasn’t welcome at an upcoming TDSB graduation ceremony any more due to the controversy around his comments. Bilkszto was devastated and put forward a lawsuit against TDSB which had not succeeded at the time of his suicide.
According to Bilkszto’s family, the “stress” of the “incidents” he’d been through simply became too much for him and he couldn’t deal with it any more. Bilkszto was respected by almost all his peers and worked in part of the TDSB especially oriented to helping adult students with learning difficulties, immigrants or those who had come back to finish school. Bilkszto had no history of racism or complaints of discrimination or harassment of students and was, by all accounts, a generous and kind man who wanted to improve the lives of those around him.
Nonetheless, despite his stellar reputation and work record, Bilszto’s decision to publicly disagree during diversity training with far left facilitator Kike Ojo-Thompson ended up being the start of a spiral eventually leading him to the decision to take his own life. According to those present, Bilszto and Ojo-Thompson clashed after Bilszto, who had worked for many years in minority and poor areas of Toronto, took issue with her claims about Canada’s deep racist roots and how that was at the heart of struggles experienced by students of color.
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