[Toronto: City Councillor] Doug Ford suggests schools explore UFC-linked program
from the Toronto Star, try and see if you can detect any bias in their reporting...
The picture isn't there online, but in the paper version of the newspaper, they included a photo and Caption of Mark Hominick after he was beaten in UFC 129 in order to show how gruesome the UFC is.
Councillor Doug Ford’s office has suggested Toronto schools look into a community service program backed by the violent mixed martial arts league, Ultimate Fighting Championship.
In an email obtained by the Star, Ford’s constituency assistant, Anna Vescio, asked a Toronto District School Board trustee to circulate a brochure touting an initiative called UFC Community Works.
According to the brochure, the program promotes “the development of discipline, respect, teamwork, honesty, time management and physical fitness” through mixed martial arts training and meetings with UFC fighters.
UFC has become notorious for its brutal, bloody, no-holds barred fighting. Mixed martial arts events were banned in Ontario until this year.
The email was sent Thursday, one day after Premier Dalton McGuinty announced bold new anti-bullying legislation that seeks to curb aggressive behaviour in Ontario schools. Some TDSB trustees were left questioning the sense of proposing a program backed by UFC.
“I think it’s a terrible idea,” said Pamela Gough, TDSB trustee for Etobicoke-Lakeshore. “Schools are all about peacemaking right now . . . we don’t want to promote violence, we don’t want to promote fighting.”
The proposal also follows last month’s controversy at Earl Beatty Public School, in the city’s east end, where hard balls — tennis ball included — were banned from the schoolyard after they were deemed too dangerous.
TDSB chair Chris Bolton, who heard about the email Saturday morning, found the proposal at odds with the school board’s stance on violence.
“It’s not exactly the kind of thing we’re promoting, whether it’s for community work or not,” he said. “We really have a question about the promotion of violence or fighting as a way to enter into community service.”
The school board’s goal, he said, is to reduce violence.
In an email to TDSB trustees early Saturday morning, Chris Glover, trustee for Etobicoke Centre, stressed that he adamantly voiced his disapproval to Ford’s office: “I have responded that I will not be promoting fighting in our schools under any circumstances,” he wrote.
“We have all kinds of initiatives to prevent fighting in our schools . . . to teach kids how to resolve conflicts without fighting,” he said in an interview. “[Mixed martial arts training] speaks against the goals of public education.”
In April, UFC Community Works launched a $129,000 program to purchase mixed martial arts equipment for at-risk youth at the Cabbagetown Youth Centre.
Glover also took issue with UFC’s stated intent to promote its brand through community service. The brochure says UFC Community Works will allow UFC to “promote our brand at a grassroots level.”
“We don’t send (children) to school to sell them advertising,” Glover said in an interview. “I don’t think parents would be very happy if we were promoting the UFC in our schools and using our schools as an advertising venue for them.”
Reached by phone, Doug Ford declined to comment, citing Mayor Rob Ford’s policy of not talking to the Star.
I am writing about this more for my outrage at how this sort of thing is reported. At least on the radio in Toronto (AM680 news) they included some commentary from their sportscaster on how the UFC is involved in anti-bullying initiatives and how the trustees may be meeting this idea with opposition due to ignorance.
This bothers me because there are a lot of at risk youth in Toronto who could benefit from the discipline of the sports training, yet the only thing that ever seems to be done for at risk youth is basketball programs (and hockey, we are Canadian after all). Along comes a program that is probably all paid for by the UFC that would very likely steer children away from violence, and it is likely to get shut down because of ignorance.