Unsettling Settlement

The news in the National Post article, “Former Catholic School Student’s Complaints of Homophobia Settled Just Before Human Rights Hearing,” is unsettling. Christopher Karas is the

former Catholic high school student who was set to appear before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal Wednesday with allegations of homophobia and discrimination at his alma mater has settled his case.

Yesterday, April 1, Eric Adriaans told Canadian Atheist readers, “Christopher [Karas] has informed me that his court appearances start today.” However, Karas did not inform Adriaans that, at the last minute, he decided to accept a settlement.

Yes, a decision from Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (HRTO) may have taken a long time and the Tribunal may not have ruled in Karas’s favour, but the school board, Conseil Scolaire de District Catholique Centre-Sud, obviously didn’t want to take that chance. It offered Karas a “‘favourable'” settlement and Karas is pleased:

“I’m very happy that this has come to a resolution. I think that it was really important that we raise awareness and I think we really have seen that over the last year.”

He hopes his case has set a precedent for other students seeking to form clubs under the Accepting Schools Act at their own schools.

Karas’s case has not set a precedent for other students seeking to form clubs under the Accepting Schools Act at their own schools.  A settlement is a weak precedent; an HRTO decision in Karas’s favour would have been more effective in forcing Ontario publicly funded Catholic schools to conform to Accepting Schools Act.

In a statement to Daily Xtra, Karas says,

“I think it’s really important that we raise these issues and also that we come to a resolution. I think we’ve done that today.”

No we haven’t; Conseil Scolaire de District Catholique Centre-Sud used taxpayer dollars to make Karas’s case go away. This issue will not be resolved until other students who are exposed to homophobia and discrimination take their publicly-funded Catholic school all the way to a Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.

One thought on “Unsettling Settlement

  1. As resolution, perhaps, but not a very useful one for future students who will likely have the same battle to fight. I suspect most will simply tolerate the continued discrimination, much like Premier Wynne does.

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