Well, Friday and Saturday the CPoSD76 held a yard sale, to raise funds for court costs, and help us with future endeavures. We asked families to drop off their gently used items, and boy, did they ever. Just look at how much stuff concerned families dropped off!
For the 2 hours we were open on Friday, and all day on Saturday plus over time, there was a constant stream of people to see what we had for sale. Many more residents of Medicine Hat became aware of just what was happening with their local School District 76. Awareness is the chief struggle we have.
Parents for instance are just not aware that SD76 has set procedures under policy 621 & 622 that create new ‘problem’ children within the district through vague definitions on various ‘phobias’. That the district has established that they can impress their idea of morality and ethics upon the children in the schools, beyond that of the law, and in some cases, against that which the parents wish to instill.
Most concerning is that the district has established in those same procedures that a child can be monitored while not at school, and if an infraction of school policy/ethics/morals occurs outside school hours, no matter the location, that the child can be disciplined for that infraction. Worse still, they have written into procedures for administration and teachers, that if they see such an infraction, they must report it, or be subject to disciplinary action themselves.
Still though, besides making residents aware of what some of the concerns of the CPoSD76 are, the yard sale also brought awareness about this Thursday’s court decision on the petition that they brought to the Board of SD76. The CPoSD76 have been struggling for over a year to have their concerns heard by the Board, but have been met with continual road blocks. So much so, that they had to appeal the rejection of their petition. The first appeal of it’s kind in Canadian History. Justice Tilleman will in fact on Thursday be setting precedence for any future case like ours.
The Justice will also be giving clarifications on a numbers of aspects of the School Act. One clarification that the Justice gave on March 10th was that the petition can be amended with the requisite number of signatures needed to meet the criteria of the School Act, contrary to the assertion of the Secretary of the Board who stated we must resubmit a new petition (Ie. Recollect all 2000 signatures).
This was a relief to us, as the original collection was a significant amount of work, and consisted of more than 40 volunteers collecting. So, with the statements from the Justice, we set out to collect the 110 shortfall, and to correct the addresses of the 269 that only had postal codes.
We have volunteers tirelessly looking up the addresses as best they can, as they do not have access to postal information, electoral role calls, or school registration lists. The Yard Sale alone provided 78 new signatures, and with several other volunteers yet to hand in there collections, (the numbers are good,) we expect to far exceed the 110 required. Who knows, we may have enough, that we don’t even need to bother with fixing the addresses of the 269!
Beyond the signatures, the yard sale was ultimately about raising funds for court costs. Although the appeal was self represented, there were a number of costs associated with the case. Including the initial filing, sworn affidavits, and consulting fees.
Although not exuberant, they are a concern for a working father with a family to raise. Throughout this process several individuals indicated that they wanted to help, and some already had, but we wanted to give the broader community the opportunity to be engaged, and show that there are many in the community who are concerned with what is happening in our school district, province, and country. (As if 2034 signatures on a petition wasn’t enough of an indication.)
In fact, the district has not gotten this fact, as not only does a father of two have to worry about his own court costs, but the School Board has asked the Justice to make him pay for their court costs.
In the words of the Secretary, the precedent setting appeal on behalf of 2034 signatories is “frivolous and vexatious,” and the appellant should pay for daring to question the Board, and making them work to evaluate the petition. But that is OK, because our children are worth any cost, and parents will never back down from protecting their own from dangerous and oppressive policy.
And you know what? With only one week’s notice, residents of Medicine Hat showed this to be true, as the massive amount of donations in items for the yard sale, the purchase by others at the yard sale, and with the financial donations towards our efforts. In fact, between sales and donations, a total of $1721.90 was raised for court costs. Not bad for one weekend. Innumerable thanks to all those that bought from our yard sale, and donated to costs. You have no idea how encouraging this is to us. A special thanks to Crossroads Church for letting us use their facility for the yard sale. Could not have hoped for a better location!
So what of all the items that didn’t sell? The majority of the clothing items have already been donated to refugees via the Dream Center, and the remaining items are slated to be dropped of at the local Salvation Army thrift store later this week, to benefit the local community. There was just so much given by generous families, we didn’t have time to sell it all, nor would we have needed to. This was an incredible showing of the generosity of the residents of Medicine Hat, their concern for their children, for those people new to Canada, and those that are struggling in these difficult economic times.
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