TDSB Students Vote To Join Protest Led By Sabotage Promoting Anarchists! (Feat. The Student School)


Every year, right around springtime, Barrick Gold holds its Annual General Meeting at the Metro Convention Centre in downtown Toronto. With this event comes the inevitable confrontation; Barrick has been targeted by professional protesters for years. The protests are rarely peaceful, and involve protesters forcefully stopping traffic, pushing into police lines, making false accusations of police misconduct, and sometimes getting arrested.

When one imagines their child being sent on a school field trip, the last thing they’d think is that they’d be communing with convicted criminals, abusing the police, and risking arrest. But, for students of one Toronto District School Board institution, this is now a distinct possibility. At 11am on Wednesday, April 30th pupils at the Student School will be at the front-line of the fight against Barrick Gold- led by an American anarchist whose activities are closely monitored by a host of US and Canadian enforcement organizations.

What Is The Student School?

Parents, your kids aren't safe here...

Parents, your kids aren’t safe here…

The Student School is an alternative secondary school that offers courses for students in grades 11 and 12. The school has a definite slant towards the far left, promoting ideals of “Social justice, equity, acceptance, respect, and participatory democracy”. There’s no equivalent school in Toronto for people with right-leaning politics.

Like many on the radical left, the Student School has taken a strong position against the Israeli state. They’ve aligned themselves with the controversial (some say anti-Semitic) group Students Against Israeli Apartheid, and High School Students Against Israeli Apartheid. The school’s position on Israel is so intense, there’s been at least one incident where an Israeli student felt unsafe and compelled to leave.

Each week the school’s students gather for a “General Council” meeting (that sounds a lot like the General Assemblies of the Occupy movement). At these meetings, students “vote and discuss school issues, students’ issues, activity motions, motions of solidarity, boycott proposals and much more”. From the above screenshot, it appears that they’ve recently voted ‘unanimously’ to attend this years protest against Barrick Gold.

Who’s Running The Protest?

Efforts against Barrick Gold are led by Sakura Saunders, an American anarchist who recently moved from Toronto to Ottawa. Saunders is a hardcore anti-capitalist who associates herself with some of the Canada’s leading promoters of political violence. Her husband is an anarchist rapper who promotes Black Bloc culture, and “smashing shit up”.

Saunders has been protesting Barrick AGMs since at least 1997. It was that year when she was arrested for trespassing on the conference centre’s property and refusing to listen to the police when they asked her to leave. As demonstrated in the above video, she resisted arrest when she was being taken into custody- struggling and screaming while the police were trying to get her under control.

While generally quiet about her support for people who use violent tactics, Saunders occasionally lets it slip- like last year, when she openly praised people who sabotaged natural gas pipelines. As a result of this behaviour, Saunders has become a person of interest for law enforcement agencies including Toronto Police, Ontario Provincial Police, the RCMP, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI- organizations whose staff have read many of the articles about her posted on this website.

To put things in most simple terms, Sakura Saunders is the exact opposite of the type of person who should be presented as a leader and/or role model for Toronto’s students. If the Student School’s faculty are aware of Saunder’s background (it’s assumed they are, as they’re active in the protester community) and are allowing students to attend this event- it calls to question their suitability as teachers.

But, How Bad Could It Really Get?

G20 arrestee Dave Vasey & convict Alex Hundert harassing the cops at last year's protest

G20 arrestee Dave Vasey & convicted G20 ringleader Alex Hundert harassing the cops at last year’s Barrick protest

We’ve already seen the example of what happened at Saunder’s anti-Barrick protest in 2007, and her Oscar class performance (she’s well trained at getting arrested) as she fought against the police. But, while it’s not normal that someone gets arrested every year, there’s no shortage of bad people and bad behaviour.

Saunders learned in 2007 (the hard way) that all but the last 18 inches of the sidewalk in front of the convention centre is private property- police are always given permission to remove protesters from this area. But this doesn’t stop the protesters from trying to push themselves across the line- in fact, it’s become part of the protest’s tradition.

It goes like this. Everyone first gathers on the sidewalk on the other side of Front St. The protesters hold up their banners, some make speeches, and (inevitably) Saunder’s husband Darius Mirshahi will damage fellow protester’s eardrums with some of the worst anti-capitalist (c)rap one could imagine having to endure (it makes Vogon poetry sound tame).

Next, Saunders will begin to lead people to start blocking Front St- pushing themselves in front of moving traffic in a manner that’s surely not covered by the TDSB’s insurance carrier. If the protesters are lucky enough not to be hit by a car or attacked by an angry driver (luckily it hasn’t happened yet), they will then make their way to the private property in front of the convention centre. The police then round them off of the sidewalk, and leave the group standing on the street (with moving traffic behind them) and they’ll start yelling at the cops (most of who are nice people just trying to do their jobs).

Last year’s protest got interesting when Dee Shangar (the guy who runs the racist and violence promoting Occupy Toronto Livestream) accused one of the police officers of ‘assaulting’ him by gently pushing him off of the private property he was trespassing on. Protesters later began plastering the Internet with accusations naming the cop. Fortunately, it was all caught on video- and there was zero evidence of the protester being assaulted (quite the opposite).

Why Protest Barrick Gold?


The protests against Barrick Gold aren’t entirely for environmental reasons. Barrick’s chairman and founder (who has announced he’ll retire this year) Peter Munk is also a supporter of the Jewish National Fund, an organization that provides strong backing for the state of Israel. JNF events are often the target of protests- curiously, they’re attended by the same people you’ll find at an anti-Barrick Gold protest.

Saunders is a strong supporter of anti-Israel protests; and associates with racists who have made public, unabashed anti-Semitic statements. Many people accuse far left anti-Israel fanatics of anti-Semitism. Examining the Student School’s history, it appears that the administration has a definite bias.

 Parents, Your Kids Aren’t Safe At The Student School:

It’s beyond Your Humble Narrator’s imagination how the Student School’s administration could be so irresponsible as to send their students to this event. If teachers are trying to teach their students the democratic values of protest, this is the exact wrong place to do it- they’ll be accompanied by convicted criminals, cop baiters, and people who promote the use of political violence.

Reading through TDSB regulations, it’s very clear that schools are obligated to examine political issues by looking into both sides of the conflict- it doesn’t appear that the Student School is adhering to these rules. Saunder’s organization ProtestBarrick provides such a manipulated view on their rival that Barrick has successfully got a court order telling them to cease and deist distributing their distorted information.

The school board needs to take notice of what’s happening and engage in remedies to make sure this doesn’t occur in the future. The purpose of our public school system isn’t to indoctrinate students in radical ideologies- it’s to teach them how to assess the world around them using logic and truth. Sakura Saunder’s work is anything but- she presents a distorted view on reality, and is the worst role model imaginable.

If the Student School can’t figure this out, it’s time for the TDSB to shut them down…

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    • CaligulaJones on April 11, 2014 at 10:27
    • Reply

    “Parents, Your Kids Aren’t Safe At The Student School”

    The unfortunate part is that, I would imagine, the parents who allow their children to attend this school are already fully aware of its politics…

    1. I’m sure (most) of the parents are aware of the politics, but do they know the school is taking their kids on field trips with G20 criminals?

        • CaligulaJones on April 15, 2014 at 10:31
        • Reply

        I’d file that one under “serves the idiots right” if they have to bail little Kourtney out of jail, or have to deal with getting to the condo in Florida when their spoiled progeny can’t get over the border…

  1. Great story Greg. I wonder as well if thee parents of these kids are aware that their kids are now being put in arrestable situations and further, if any of these kids are easily swayed or are looking for ways to be accepted, will they be preasured participate in a criminal action? I think that if any chance does exist that some may be swayed, then people like sakura saunders should be charged criminally with what ever the offense is called where an adult encourages a minor to commit an offense.

  2. Very excellent article! Have you contacted any trustees at the TDSB? Sam Sotiropoulos is maybe someone who would take interest. He is the guy who made noise about the nudity at the Pride parade.

    1. I just had a conversation with the TDSB’s media relations, and have relayed some questions- hoping to get a response on Monday. That’s a very good idea about contacting Sotiropoulos though, will do that right now- thanks!

      1. I hope it goes well. Do keep us updated.

        1. FYI, here are the questions I’ve sent to the TDSB media relations team- I’m expecting answers on Monday:

          1. I read through the TDSB’s documentation on running school field trips, nowhere does it say that students aren’t allowed to participate in illegal activities (as they did last year when they were blocking traffic). Perhaps I missed something? I understand your explanation that it’s an assumption that field trips aren’t allowed to involve illegal behaviour- but, in this case, it seems the Student School has been, and plans to again.

          2. The protest is led by a militant anarchist who has openly promoted pipeline sabotage- in 2007, at the same anti-Barrick protest, she fought against the police resisting them as she was arrested. Does the TDSB have a process or rule to protect students from being exposed to people and organizations that promote illegal activity? Are there standards for vetting organizations who partner with TDSB schools?

          3. Reading through TDSB regulations on political activities, it seems clear that teachers have the obligation to present all sides of the story- not only one side from the opposition. What activities has the Student School taken to provide a counter-measure? Were representatives of Barrick, or other pro-mining experts, invited to tell their side?

          4. Does the TDSB’s insurance carrier have any qualifications in the contract that limit field trips from engaging in illegal activity?

          1. Any response?

            1. Not yet. I’m going to call to follow-up in an hour or so.

            2. Okay, they’ve said that they won’t get an answer until tomorrow, I’ll keep you all updated as I know more.

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