Former school board trustee official challenges current trustees to do what is right or follow a 'lame duck' Premier

By Peggy Russell

March 13th, 2022



Public School Board Trustees in the Province of Ontario have less than a week to make a very big decision regarding their responsibility to the students and staff and, by extension, the welfare of their communities, with the responsibility they were charged with when elected.

Peggy Russell

Do they follow the direction of the Premier of this Province or do they follow the advice of the experts represented through the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition’s Statement of March 9, 2022?

The Ontario Children’s Health Coalition states: “Masks remain an important layer of protection as the pandemic continues and may be needed in communities with low vaccination rates and where there is a surge in cases. Masks also protect those most vulnerable, including high-risk, immunocompromised and fragile children.”

Trustees in the Province of Ontario have a definitive Role in which, “they must weigh what is in the best interests of the whole education system” which they are duly elected to represent.
This will be the true test of elected Trustees relevancy; there is no hedging around this one.

Either they listen to the experts from the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition or, if they do not, they should be prepared for the potential legal ramifications, not just as a Board, but as individuals who could be named in Legal Actions for not following the advice of the experts from the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition.

Currently Trustees have been advised that legally, they must abide by Public Health Orders. My question is: Are those Orders in the best interest of our collective society or that of special interest groups and some sectors of industry?

Then there is the moral obligation to the children, families/guardians, of the students they serve: to ensure that each and every student, no matter their health status, is provided the same opportunity to learn in a safe classroom environment.

Do Trustees understand that this indeed is their Alamo?

Either they listen to the experts from the Ontario Children’s Health Coalition and do what is right or they follow a “lame duck” Premier who is seeking re-election and the Orders of Ontario Public Health Units who serve at the pleasure of the Premier and their government. Which will it be?

Trustees in Ontario must be prepared to legally challenge the Province, Ministry of Education and, where applicable, Ontario Public Health Units. Trustees need to understand what is truly at stake at this moment or they risk becoming irrelevant.


Peggy Russell is a past Vice-Chair of the Halton District School Board. and was a Director of the Ontario Public School Board Association for eight years.



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5 comments to Former school board trustee official challenges current trustees to do what is right or follow a ‘lame duck’ Premier

  • Sharon

    The Trustees need to put on their big girl pants and make a decision all by themselves.

  • Tom Muir

    If the Board just obeys Doug Ford’s political orders to repeal masking and other Covid control practices, and so looks away from their primary responsibilities and duties to protect the well-being of students and the teachers, and the entire school system they are supposed to be in charge of, then they will never be able to hide from what is a grave act of denying what is already known and conscious.

    This obedience will not be an innocent act of not-knowing but a a wilful act of looking away. This act of looking away will be a crime against the very essence of their reason for existence and will cost us dearly.

    These actions by Mr. Ford and his Chief Medical officer reflect a failure of memory of similar past choices that led to much harm. They are reckless like drunk drivers of the education system bus. Letting these guys with memory loss run things and take actions that risk children first and then others, suggests to me that we have a political policy born of dementia, so people with other directly affected primary delivery duties and powers, must step up and call out the recklessness and risks that are imposed by Ford actions and drunk driving.

    The Board must protect the children and the schools from the risk of this inherent policy harm, as stated by many independent experts, and by the known ways of how the virus acts. This is not safe policy for children, teachers, schools, or parents. It’s not stated as safe, but inherently risky so look after yourself whatever your condition.

    In my view, the Board will be guilty of fiduciary negligence of duty if they just obey Ford.

    Peggy Russel has stated this situation very well and I defer to her on the job experience including Board Chair, to tell us the feelings of what this duty of care is.


  • steven craig gardner

    I am totally onside with this letter writter so are my teacher friends. Doug Ford has a chief medicakl officer who does what Doug wants not science. We all know Doug is under educated as compared to any of the science table who do not support Doug or Dr Moore nor were they consulted.Let us be honest Doug’s whole term of office has been about Doug and big business I hope all realize that in June. If Doug had nothing to hide he would publish school figures on vaccination rates amongst kids ( I am hearing as low as 11% amongst the youngest) and also report how many cases in schools (I am aware of one Oakville High school with rates as high as 10 to 15% off with Covid-19.)
    So if nothing to hide show us the numbers and/or let school boards decide mask policy not the June election.
    I do hope the letter writer is correvct and Ford is a lame duck premier is thrown out and thrown out big time in June as that is what his performance over the past 4 years deserves.

  • Diane Knox

    This is indeed a challenge/ a Moral & Safety decision for the School Boards, the Administrators of schools and the Teachers EA’s, Support Staff and indeed, the Elected Trustees like Peggy who represent and advocate for the Families of children aged 4- 21yrs old with multiple needs.

    This Premier, his appointed Doctor, and his Education Minister have Decided and doubled down. “You must obey. our rules! Listen to our experts. the whole Province can live with this covid. Masks off- Day One after March break.”.
    What happened to the early statements from Mr. Ford? ‘This is a Big Province. Follow local Health rules. Now we have a mandate for all, in All our schools GTA and.. when many have and cannot be protected. by March 21st???

    I truly hope for the Future of All the Children of Ontario that All the School Boards of this Province, do their Due Diligence and protect those in your care for their School Day 6 hours+ and make their local Health Care situation their bottom line.

  • perryb

    Given that a host of experts, like the Ontario Science Table and hospital leaders, are disagreeing with the politicians and their subordinate officials, this warning is timely and spot on.