Linda Stone was censured by the Durham District School Board for questioning their policy of coordinating the gender transition of students without parental consent
Linda Stone, a trustee for the Durham District School Board, is pictured in a Nov. 2021 school board meeting as she questions the district’s policy of “affirming” children’s gender transitions without informing parents. These comments were cited by fellow trustees in ordering her censure. PHOTO BY YOUTUBE/DURHAM DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD
An Ontario school trustee has been barred from attending board meetings in part because she publicly questioned the district’s stated policy of accommodating a student’s decision to switch genders while keeping it a secret from their parents.
At a Feb. 7 meeting, the Durham District School Board voted to censure fellow trustee Linda Stone, and bar her from all board meetings and committee hearings for the rest of the year. In an accompanying statement, the board condemned the “harmful impact” of Stone’s comments and urged the community to “begin to heal.”
“Transphobia has no place in our schools or school boards,” wrote fellow trustee Niki Lundquist in a tweet praising the censure.
The board based their decision on a 55-page report commissioned from an outside investigator alleging that Stone, who won re-election to the board in October, was guilty of espousing “racist” and “transphobic” viewpoints that caused “objective harm” to the trans community.
Among them was the fact Stone had questioned the district’s policy of concealing a child’s gender transition from parents if requested. Under the school board’s official anti-discrimination guidelines a student can change gender simply by declaring so to school staff. Staff are explicitly forbidden from questioning the new identity or otherwise failing to provide appropriate “affirmation,” including recognition of the student’s preferred pronouns.
“Self-identification is sufficient for trans students and employees to be addressed by their chosen name and pronouns and to be recognized according to their gender identity,” reads the guidelines. It adds, “staff shall maintain privacy and confidentiality of trans students and will not disclose a student’s gender identity to the student’s parent/family/guardian, employees or other students without the student’s explicit prior consent and unless the student requests it.”
“I was a little disturbed to see that you would keep things private with the student and not let parents know,” Stone said in a November, 2021 meeting. She also suggested that students requesting a change of gender might be best advised to “seek counselling to find out whether or not something else may be interfering with what the child is actually going through.”
These comments spurred a number of complaints to the board that Stone was violating the “equity and diversity initiatives” of the district. It was these initial complaints that would ultimately lead to the board targeting Stone for investigation and eventual censure.