UPDATE: Trustee Sam Sotiropoulos subject of parent’s human rights complaint

TORONTO – A Toronto-area parent has formally complained to the TDSB about a controversial tweet by trustee Sam Sotiropoulous that was sent out in August.

Sotiropolous tweeted that “until [he] sees scientific proof that transgenderism exists and is not simply a mental illness, [he] reserves the right not to believe in it.”

Sean Smith says the tweet seems to run afoul of numerous provisions within the TDSB’s own human rights policy including the following:

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  • Name-calling, verbal or written abuse, taunts and threats
  • Unwelcome remarks, jokes, slurs or obscene gestures
  • Unwanted remarks about an individual’s appearance, clothing, or personal life
  • Using electronic media to convey messages of discrimination and harassment

“If you found students in the TDSB making remarks like this in the classroom these students would be disciplined and educated immediately, and in some cases disciplined harshly,” Smith said. “So it’s just not clear to me why people who are in positions of extreme authority and power within the TDSB aren’t being held to the same standards as the students they’re responsible for.”

Smith mailed the complaint to the board two weeks ago and hasn’t heard back.

“The complaint was launched after I had an email exchange with the chair of the TDSB who basically said Mr. Sotiropolous is at liberty to say whatever he wants because he has freedom of speech; but, as a common saying states: freedom of speech ends where another person’s rights begin,” Smith said.

Over 90 parents of TDSB schools have offered their signatures in support of Smith’s complaint.

Speaking on the John Oakley Show on AM640 Tuesday morning, Sam Sotiropolous said “there has been no formal complaint lodged. That is a complete falsehood, because if there had been one, there is a specific process at the Toronto District School Board that must be adhered to including a confidentiality requirement. So if this individual – whoever they may be – launched a formal complaint, they wouldn’t be able to talk about it if they wanted it to actually continue.”

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TDSB Chair Mari Rutka said human rights complaints are confidential matters handled through the Directors Office and therefore could not comment.

Director Donna Quan has not returned multiple requests for clarification on the board’s human rights policy as it pertains to trustees and whether or not a complaint has been received.

Global News has reached out directly to Trustee Sotiropolous but has not heard back.