Press Release – Thursday, December 13

St. Michael’s College School Board launches independent Respect and Culture Review

Independent experts named to conduct comprehensive examination of school’s social and cultural practices

Toronto, ON (December 13, 2018) – The Board of Directors of St. Michael’s College School (“SMCS”), in collaboration with the General Council of the Basilian Fathers, today announced the chair and members of an independent committee that will conduct a comprehensive review of the school’s social and cultural practices and related policies.

“Working with full autonomy and a clear objective, the independent committee will shine new light on any behaviour that does not align with or support the school’s vision, mission, and values,” says Michael Forsayeth, Chair of the Board of Directors. “This review is our Board’s highest priority, reflecting our commitment to turn the pain of recent events into an opportunity for learning, healing, and long-term change.”

The four-member SMCS Respect and Culture Review committee brings a wealth of experience to this work, and its members have no prior connection to the school. The committee will examine the school’s traditions, social and cultural practices, policies, procedures and compliance, and make recommendations by summer 2019 on how to further ensure an environment of respect and safety for its students.

The committee will be chaired by Mark Sandler, a leading lawyer experienced in systemic reviews of this nature, and will include three other members: Debra J. Pepler, a Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology at York University, best known for her ongoing research on aggression, bullying, and victimization involving children and adolescents; Bruce Rodrigues, a former Ontario Deputy Minister of Education; and Priti Sachdeva, former legal counsel at the Office of the Children’s Lawyer whose practice focused on areas of law affecting children and other vulnerable people.  

“The important work of this committee – and its recommendations – will benefit both current and future students of St. Michael’s College School, and reinforce our core values of goodness, discipline, and knowledge. The Board will also share this report and its recommendations with other educational institutions with the goal of helping to create safe, supportive, and respectful learning environments everywhere,” added Mr. Forsayeth.

The review will examine unacceptable behaviour at St. Michael’s College School, both current and past, and recommend definitive steps to eliminate it. The committee will hear from students, parents, alumni, current and former faculty and staff on the traditions and social and cultural practices at every grade level and in all areas of school life in the current school year, recent years, and the past. The Committee will also examine the policies, protocols or practices that exist at the school to address sexual, physical or verbal abuse, hazing or the recording of such misconduct, and what policies, protocols or practices should be created or changed.

The committee’s work will begin immediately with a goal of delivering its final report by summer 2019. It may issue, in its discretion, an interim report. The school is committed to implementing the committee’s recommendations in the 2019-20 academic year.

A summary of the committee’s terms of reference, and additional information about its Chair and members, are attached and available here:

For more information, please contact:

Lianne Castelino

Michael De Pellegrin