Danielle S. McLaughlin
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Danielle McLaughlin was the Director of Education for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Education Trust from 1988 to 2016. Recipient of the 2010-2011 Law Foundation of Ontario Community Leadership in Justice Fellowship, she spent the first 6 months of 2011 as a visiting fellow at the Faculty of Education at the University of Windsor. Danielle designed, developed and delivered CCLET’s Teaching Civil Liberties and Civil Liberties in the Schools programs that each year engage thousands of students from kindergarten to high schools, to faculties of education, to law schools in lively discussion about the conflicts of rights and freedoms that affect everyone who lives in a democracy. She is co-author of the That’s Not Fair! stories, written for civic engagement of young children www.thatsnotfair.ca. Danielle's book for kids 7-11 Kids Can Press is now available. A regular blogger about education and civil liberties at the HuffingtonPost.ca, Danielle believes that the best answer to a difficult question is usually another question.

Between 1997 and 2001, in addition to her educational and administrative duties, Danielle represented the Canadian Civil Liberties Association on the Toronto Police Services Board sub-committee on Race Relations.

Entries by Danielle S. McLaughlin

What Is Appropriate And What Is Cultural Appropriation?

(9) Comments | Posted May 23, 2017 | 8:55 AM

I am having a problem. As a strong and deep believer in freedom of expression, and at the same time, a strong supporter of creativity and diversity in all its forms, I am not sure how to advise teachers.

Ever since Hal Niedzviecki sarcastically suggested that there should...

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Why Would A Teacher Cut Your Child's Hair?

(17) Comments | Posted March 13, 2017 | 3:14 PM

What is it about hair that ruffles so many feathers? Last week, despite having been told not to do so, an Ottawa teacher chopped the hair off a child, ostensibly because the child was chewing on it.

That this child is a boy who is trying to...

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Stop Making Degrading Assumptions About People With Disabilities

(3) Comments | Posted February 22, 2017 | 5:01 PM

A dog leads a young woman onto a bus and helps her to find a seat. She sits, takes a book out of her bag and begins to read.

A student in a wheelchair rolls up a ramp, through an automatic door and into a class. He stands and walks...

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Canadian Schools Resist Trump By Canceling U.S. Field Trips

(6) Comments | Posted February 14, 2017 | 3:46 PM

Last week, the Greater Essex County District School Board cancelled school trips into the United States.

The school board said it was concerned that some of its students might not be safe at the border crossing. They also expressed a concern about "equity." What did they mean by...

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Should Teachers Bring Their Politics Into The Classroom?

(59) Comments | Posted January 24, 2017 | 8:20 AM

What happened on the 21st of January? Something rather special. Women all over the world organized to let the new President of the U.S.A. and his government know that women's rights are human rights.

Not only did women march, they were joined by their families, friends...

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It's Time Canadians Started Practicing Systemic Inclusion

(0) Comments | Posted December 12, 2016 | 11:37 AM

Sometimes you don't know whether laugh or cry. Last week, Toronto city planners called a public meeting to discuss accessible and affordable public housing.

Where was the meeting scheduled to take place? In a legion hall that can only be reached by climbing a staircase.


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Do Allergies At School Take Priority Over A Service Dog?

(24) Comments | Posted November 11, 2016 | 6:47 AM

Should a teacher bring her service dog to school?

In Alberta, recently, a teacher for deaf students who is herself deaf, was prevented from bringing her service dog with her into the classroom where she normally teaches. She was re-assigned to a smaller classroom and not allowed to...

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Gym Class Can Teach Youth About Rejecting Sexism And Racism

(0) Comments | Posted October 21, 2016 | 5:49 PM

The past week has brought a number of important issues to the forefront -- and many revolve around athletics. So, can we talk about freedom of expression in gym class?

Firstly, we have that regrettable role model, Donald Trump, telling us that foul language, disrespect and threats to...

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The Best Canadian Value Is Not Putting Up With Crap

(6) Comments | Posted September 19, 2016 | 12:45 PM

What on earth is happening in my lovely and diverse city? Things are changing and I am wondering if someone might be to blame.

One morning last week, my husband and I were walking on Queen Street, a major thoroughfare in Toronto. A young woman dressed in a colourful...

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Should Teachers Be Allowed Freedom Of Expression?

(27) Comments | Posted August 19, 2016 | 4:10 PM

Last I looked, The Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees Fundamental Freedoms to "Everyone." Should that include school teachers?

In July, when schools were on vacation, a teacher in Mississauga participated in a protest rally. The school board for which she teaches has suspended her with...

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Hate Speech Is Trash And Should Be Treated As Such

(2) Comments | Posted August 16, 2016 | 11:28 AM

I have long suspected that William Whatcott never thought he would be taken so seriously. The Saskatchewan nurse calls himself a Christian Truth Activist and posts on the Free North America website ("North America's Ultimate Social Conservative Online Community").

He has also called himself the High Priest...

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What Does Freedom Of Expression Look Like?

(2) Comments | Posted June 13, 2016 | 10:08 AM

Early one morning this week, I opened my front door to find a full colour flyer tucked into my screen. It wasn't pretty. The top of the card read "An unplanned pregnancy can seem very scary." Under that were two photos: On the left was a picture purporting to be...

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Should Children Be Taught What Private Body Parts Are?

(5) Comments | Posted May 17, 2016 | 10:26 AM

A few decades ago, a good friend of mine went to St. Vincent to visit her new in-laws. It turned out that this family, although warm and welcoming, was very proper. They used what my friend later learned were some rather odd circumlocutions. She told me that they...

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Who Watches The Watchmen And Teaches The Teachers?

(3) Comments | Posted April 8, 2016 | 5:27 PM

This may come as a shock to some readers: Teachers are human beings -- nearly all of them. This means that, like the rest of us, they make mistakes, behave badly, and sometimes just lose it.

It also means that, like the rest of us, most teachers are basically good...

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What's Worse Than Skipping School?

(38) Comments | Posted March 21, 2016 | 11:28 AM

Last week, just before March break, a high school student in Ontario was sent to jail overnight. Her offence was truancy. Apparently, this young woman was in the habit of skipping school. While I do not know anything about the circumstances of her life or what led up...

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Who Gets To Decide Who You Are?

(17) Comments | Posted February 12, 2016 | 4:06 PM

One of the most difficult questions that everyone who lives in a democracy faces is "Who gets to say?" Who interprets law, who determines how I identify myself, and most importantly, who makes the final decision about where we draw lines?

This week's news has brought a few troubling stories...

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Resist Those Who Put A Price On Academic And Artistic Freedom

(20) Comments | Posted January 26, 2016 | 11:40 AM

Is there a difference between putting pressure on government and on a non-governmental agency? And what, for these purposes, IS government? Should a university, which guarantees academic and artistic freedom, capitulate to pressure put on it by a generous donor? Should an activist organization make policy decisions based upon what...

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Academic Freedom Belongs To The Easily Offended, Too

(7) Comments | Posted January 12, 2016 | 4:52 PM

Dear Prof. Michael Persinger:

As a life-long civil libertarian and a pain in the butt to those who would quell freedom of expression, I feel the need to converse with you.

I understand that you are being disciplined by Laurentian University, where you hold tenure, for...

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We Can Fight Fear With Simple Acts Of Kindness

(0) Comments | Posted December 1, 2015 | 3:30 PM

Last week, a high school student got onto a crowded subway car at rush hour. While there seemed to be no place left for anyone to sit and those standing were crowded together, a space around her quickly cleared. In fact she found herself the sole occupant of a row...

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What You Have Taught Your Teens About Strangers Is All Wrong

(0) Comments | Posted October 19, 2015 | 4:55 PM

"I think I have just met one of the worst human beings on earth and she happens to be in grade eleven." I received this text from a teacher this week and it worries me a lot.

My colleagues and I at the Canadian Civil Liberties Education Trust...

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