Toronto Star

C.W. Jefferys officials face child act charges

Three allegedly failed to report a school assault

- KRISTIN RUSHOWY EDUCATION REPORTER

Police have charged the former principal and two vice-principals at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate under Ontario’s Child and Family Services Act with failing to report an assault on a minor, the Star has learned.

Principal Charis Newton-Thompson and vice-principals Silvio Tallevi and Stan Gordon face a fine of up to $1,000 if convicted.

News of the charges comes just prior to the release of a report on safety in Toronto schools by a panel struck after 15-year-old Jordan Manners was shot inside Jefferys, a 900-student school near Keele St. and Finch Ave. W. While investigat­ing conditions at Jefferys, the panel, headed by lawyer Julian Falconer, learned of an alleged sexual assault of a Muslim girl in a school washroom, informatio­n that was passed on to Director of Education Gerry Connelly. The board’s lawyer immediatel­y contacted the police. Six males have since been charged with gang sexual assault, forcible confinemen­t and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence. The alleged assault, in October 2006, has no link to Manners’ mur-

der.

At the time, it was alleged that administra­tors at the school had been made aware of the event, but did not report it to police. They were soon after put on home assignment.

Administra­tors are required by the Toronto District School Board to report any cases of physical and sexual assault to police. Those who don’t are subject to disciplina­ry action by the board.

The trio was put on “home leave” by the TDSB last June. Since that time, Tallevi has retired and the other two continue to be paid.

Once police wrap up their investigat­ion, the board will conduct its own, Connelly said last night after being contacted by the Star.

She said she was notified by Police Chief Bill Blair of the charges just before the new year.

If the three charged wish to retain their teaching certificat­es, they would also likely end up before a disciplina­ry committee of the Ontario College of Teachers once the charges are dealt with by the courts.

Board Chair John Campbell said last night he didn’t feel it was appropriat­e for him to comment on the charges.

In a statement published in the Star on Boxing Day, NewtonThom­pson said she’d been principal at Jefferys since September 2006, her second school as a principal.

She wrote that “for more than 25 years, I have been a devoted educator. I have taught in three countries, including 20 years as a Toronto teacher, race relations advisor, Ministry of Education officer, assistant department head, vice-principal and principal. I believe I have made a significan­t and positive contributi­on to communitie­s, students and staff at the TDSB during my tenure.”

She also wrote that as an administra­tor, she is “aware of the protocol between the TDSB and Toronto police, obligating me to report specific allegation­s of student criminal conduct to the police. I have always followed the protocol whenever I have been made aware of such an allegation.”

“I’m not prepared to comment,” Newton-Thompson said when reached at her home last night. Gordon, who said he is meeting with his lawyer today about the charge, also refused to comment. Tallevi, also reached at home last night, said he was “not allowed to make any comment.”

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