Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2021-01-05

"Keep Communism Out of Our Schools": Cold War Anti-Communism at the Toronto Board of Education, 1948-1951

Document type Article
Author Clarke, Frank K.
Journal Labour / Le Travail
Volume 49
Date 2002 Spring
ISSN 0700-3862
Pages 93-119


As a contribution to the history of the Cold War, and particularly of anti-Communist activities at the local level, discusses the controversial policies adopted by the Toronto District School Board during 1948-51 and the anti-Communist activities of Harold Menzies, one of the board's trustees. In spite of the presence on the board of elected trustees who were Communists and the opposition of the director of education, a majority of the trustees were successful in adopting policies that violated the civil liberties of Canadians and were contemptuous of the will of the voters. Anti-Communist activities touched on teacher loyalty, selection of textbooks, and access to school facilities. Menzies and his allies saw communism as a threat to the school system and worked hard to create and maintain an anti-Communist consensus.