Category Archive Board Meeting

C.P.O.S. – Create: Effective Safe & Caring Policy

The second prong of the CPoSD76 C.P.O.S. plan that I will be going over in this post is the “Create” prong. It seems fitting to go over it the day before Board of SD76 has their Monthly board meeting. I get to give you a pre-Board meeting run down, but also show how this portion of the C.P.O.S plan fits in with policy development.

The purpose of the “Create” prong of the C.P.O.S. plan is to:

Develop and create policy for SD76, Alberta Education, and provincial government that we believe would satisfy the requirements of current legislation, that also addresses our concerns, and present it as an alternative.

The goal is not to rewrite every policy, but to provide the School Board with what we, the parents, would like to see implemented in the areas that they are concerned about. As we all saw with policy 621 & 622 the Board was unwilling to trust the public to select a committee to put together policy recommendations on their own. Instead, according to the Chairman of the Board, they chose to allegedly blow $25,000 to prevent parents from being heard. The Coordinating Committee knew best.

That is why the first action of the “Create” prong will be to develop the Safe & Caring policy that ‘could have been.’ (Minus the provisions of the illegal post 622, Bill-24.) The exact process of the creation of this policy recommendation will be posted on the “Create” page most likely early May. The process will suffice to say include an opportunity for general public input, and the selection of a committee to compile that input into a cohesive policy recommendation.

Other than the rejection of public input by the Board for 621 & 622, this prong of C.P.O.S. and the resulting policy recommendation is necessary because the current process in SD76 is flawed. It is an overly bureaucratic top down system, that limits dissension and independent thought. Select administration, who many in the process chain are beholden to, (who have already proven have no qualms with lording that threat of authority over them,) must play politic in order to keep their careers on track, and are not free to give honest policy recommendation based on their own personal conscience believes. This intimidation and suppression of freedom of conscience has infested the ATA, ASBA, and Alberta Education.

I could regale you with all the proof of the cracks in the system, and the lengths they are willing to go to suppress parental input, but I won’t. You can read through the history to find that. No, instead I’ll just leave this screen shot of an ATA official, on Friday the 20th, 2018, attempting to discredit the #SexEdSitOut. As well as a break down of this month’s Board Meeting agenda and how it’s format has changed over the last few months to limit your knowledge of what is going on in this district. If you are not interested in that, you can stop reading now. I will not be writing anything further on the C.P.O.S. plan in this post.


On the Agenda for April 2018’s public (remember that word, public,) Board meeting is some thank you correspondence, Roy Wilson National Winners for the “My Parks Pass” contest, another field trip application, Connaught School attendance boundaries, the final approval for a field trip to Florida, and the presentation of the minutes to the Coordinating Committee (CC), before moving to in-camera “Committee of the Whole.”

The CC minutes contain a brief list of all policies being reviewed, and any new, or amendment recommendations to the board. The CC meetings are not open to the public, and how a parent is supposed to get a change recommendation actually brought forward at one of these meetings is unknown even to most parent councils. (Your concern, or recommendation needs to be approved as ‘valid’ by your parent/school council, and then approved as ‘valid’ at the council of councils. Attendance at which is by invitation.)

Now after the minutes of the CC are seen by the Board, they are given draft proposals of the policy change. In the past, they could be viewed by the public, as attachments to the meeting’s documents. Curiously, I don’t see those this time. No mind, I’m sure they will be available at the May Board meeting, as the drafts have to be presented before they can be voted on. So if parents hope to know what may very well become policy, before it actually becomes policy, you best attend the May meeting.

But this process with the CC isn’t the only curious thing happening with the Board in the last 2 years. In 2016, some events that showed an embarrassing lack of knowledge of FOIP and what exactly ‘public’ meant at a meeting, had the board institute a no recording policy. The policy was instituted under the ridiculous pretense that they couldn’t “execute their duties,” unless those people recording were friendly and favorable to the board.

The no recording policy also lead to more ‘discussions’ going on during in-camera, “committee of the whole,” portions of the ‘public’ meetings. These discussions, though I’m not privy to them, seem to include a lot of talk that has not to do with the public meeting, or if it does, then the Board is violating the School Act. Well, either way, they are still violating a technical detail of the Act. Something, from the petition challenge, they supposedly care a great deal about not doing.

The Board, for as long as I’ve followed/attended the meetings, has been giving reports on how the Trustees have been involved in the activities of the districts. These reports have been on the minutes and the agendas of the meetings for the last couple of years. February 2018’s public meeting had it on the agenda. The minutes state that no reports were given. Curiously, the minutes don’t talk about a motion to discontinue this practice. March’s meeting did not have the reports on the agenda. So I am to assume that they stopped giving them. Now here is the funny thing, the Board can’t simply change it’s practice without discussing it, nor can they do so without informing the public. It’s written right in the School Act.

Now, that practice may have been only for a designated time frame, but that isn’t noted in the minutes. No discussion or decision about whether it should be continued or ceased is recorded. The reports were simply not given in February, and then no longer there in March. So what happened? I can surmise two possible explanations.

One, it was discussed, but it wasn’t recorded in the minutes. If so, that is a failing of the minutes taking. Since the board must vote on the adoption of the previous meeting’s minutes, that means they knew about the error, and chose to keep it out anyway. Thus showing the board willfully violated the School Act and intends to keep decisions on district governance and agenda secret from the public. What else are they not putting in the minutes?

Two, it was discussed in the in-camera session, after the specified period in the agenda, and a decision was made to stop giving the reports. Yet, they did not inform the public, or at least record that they informed the public. Thus violating the School Act once again, and willfully keeping pertinent information from the public.

You see, the School Act very carefully outlines what in-camera discussions are meant to be used for. The in-camera sessions, according to the School Act, which is the actual law, states that they are to be used to discuss confidential matter such as budget decisions, land use, discipline, and employment negotiations. They are given some latitude with respect to other ‘confidential’ matters. Given the track record on understanding FOIP, I’m not entirely confident they believe the word confidential means what we believe it means.

Regardless of how the Board defines confidential, the School Act further stipulates that ANY decision of the board, made in-camera, must be released to the public, and that at any public meeting that has gone in-camera must be reopened to the public, and the decision disseminated. Not a single meeting that I have gone to, has done this. Not one. Yes, they re-opened the meeting to the public, but they never told the public it was reconvened, nor what their decision was. You only ever had vague reference to it in the minutes. I waited for nearly an hour at more than one meeting to see if they would open it up to the public again. Never happened.

According to the March minutes, the public meeting was 25 minutes long before going in-camera, and then 93 minutes later it was allegedly opened up to the public and a decision of approval was made on “Property Matter #2018-04.” What Property Matter #2018-04 is, I have no idea, but no reasonable member of the public could be expected to wait outside the room for 93 minutes, hoping to be let back in to witness the conclusion, nor what an approval of the property matter even means for the district. Given the established pattern, of not letting the public know the meeting was re-opened, I’m doubtful they even attempted.

We are only 6 months into the new school board, and between the lack of recording, the limits on documents provided regarding the CC, the generic and incomplete minutes, the unreasonable wait times, and unreasonable expectations of confidentiality, I’m not hopeful that this board is going to be anymore accountable or transparent to the public than the last. I highly recommend people attend tomorrow’s April 24th Board Meeting. Something smells, and I intend on getting to the bottom of it.

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Feb 2018 Board Meeting Reminder

Just a quick reminder that the monthly Medicine Hat PUBLIC School Board Meeting is tonight at 6 PM, in the Central Board Office.

I have again gone over the agenda for this meeting, and there are no policy updates or changes in it. There will be a presentation from “Thrive” about how they are going to end poverty in Medicine Hat by 2030 through a kind of socialism. Though I can’t find a copy of the presentation, an abridged version of their plan can be found here and is likely what the presentation will be based on.

They are lofty goals to be sure, and I am curious as to how a group from Medicine Hat came up with a fool proof plan to end poverty, when no one else in all of world history has ever been able to achieve that. They did come close in Venezula, or so I’m told.  Well, I could go into detail about all the red flags(ha, there is a pun in there somewhere,) in the plan, but I’ll leave that up to our esteemed Trustees to make those astute observations themselves.

As for the board meeting, I may make it to this one. The past few months I have been dealing family and health issues, that required my attention. Rest assured I have been observing from the outside, and going over minutes and agendas. Things are at play to make sure the board stays accountable. It is always good to make the meetings if you can, as many things are said that are not ‘minute’ worthy.

 

Feb. 2018 Board Meeting Agenda and Files

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Nov 2017 Board Meeting Reminder

Hey everyone, sorry for the lack of updates over the last couple of weeks. I’ve been working with some parents regarding some concerns within the district. I’ll have another post up soon, but while you wait you can check out the parent watch forum for latest articles of concern to education and parental authority.
I’d also like to remind everyone of the Board meeting on Tuesday at 6:00PM in the Central Office. I have had a quick look at the agenda, and there are no policy changes. Highlights include info on all of the Christmas activities being put on in the district’s schools, and a budget report for 2017/2018.
I hope that given all that has been happening in our province, from the passing of Bill-24, the ridiculous implementation of ‘gender neutral’ bathrooms in SCHS north of Edmonton, and the lack of concern Eggen has shown for the life of a child in Calgary spurs you on to see the importance of attending Board meetings. The family is under attack, and it is coming from our elected officials.

 

Nov. 2017 Board Meeting Agenda and Files.

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Special Rights, and ‘rectifying’ the language of inclusive education.

Last Tuesday I had the privilege of attending the first board meeting for MHPSD since the elections. I initially stated that it started at 6pm, and then after checking the agenda, corrected myself, and said it started at 6:15pm. That was apparently actually a mix up on the agenda, as I arrived at 6:15pm and the meeting had already started. I unfortunately missed the Board recognition section of the meeting.

The overall flow of the meeting was pretty standard. The first item discussed was a band field trip to Disney Park. It was approved in principle. It appeared to me to be a well organized proposal, and I think the kids will have a great opportunity, should it receive final approval.

There was then a ‘district milestones update’, and then they got into the meat of the meeting. The policy update recommendations for student fees and special needs education. The student fees policies were updated to align with Bill 1, and it was noted by the Secretary that further updates are likely to follow, as the NDP have indicated that they wish to make further changes to school fees. The details of which are as yet not known. Massini noted that he had some “editorial comments, that he would give to the secretary in private.” (Why would editorial comments need to be in private?)

Forbes also noted that she would like to see the fees policies completely re-written, rather than keep amending them. This makes sense to me, and the Board seems to all agree, but they are going to wait until all the changes from Edmonton have been completed, and use amendments as a stop gap until that time. Forbes elaborated a bit on what she foresaw in changes to the wording of the policies, in regards to the section having to do with special needs.

Forbes stated that “Special Needs Education” should be called “Special Rights Education”, because these children have special rights to education. I did a bit of a Spock face to that comment, as it seemed rather Animal Farmesq. It brought to mind the quote from Animal Farm by George Orwell that says “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Now, I do think that children with special needs, do have special accommodations do to their particular circumstances, but I am unaware of any rights that they have that other students do not. I also do not have 20 years of experience on the board, so perhaps I am missing something. I’m a bit too cynical to draw my own conclusions, as to whether these wording changes would be helpful or not to the special needs policy in MHPSD, so I’ve put a poll at the bottom, so that you can let me know how you feel about it.

After approving the revisions to policy 650, the second in a series of “accountability” reports. These reports are based on the results of survey questions asked of staff, students, and parents, on where the district stands on various metrics. The results for this report are in the attachment documents for the agenda, and are fairly self explanatory, however how sampling was taken, and what questions were asked is not available. This may have been given in September’s report, but I was not at that meeting. I would be really curious as to how sampling was conducted.

There was a brief discussion on nominations for various committees, (those elections have not happened yet,) and then it was into a presentation from Student services. The student services presentation focused on special needs….I mean special rights education. The bulk of the discussion was around Tier 4 students, and what their support looked like. The presenter explained that each special rights student had a B.E.S.T.(Behaviour and Emotional Support Team,) group which consisted of a Support Teacher, Educational Assistant, and a Social Worker, which they now call a ‘Family Enhancement Facilitator.’ I guess there is some kind of stigma with calling them a social worker. I’ll have to ask the ministry of truth about that. Wilson-Fraser inquired further about the Support Teachers, and as far as I understood it, each school has one. Symmonds commented on the importance of a family liaison. I think she too was referring to the social worker. So I’m not sure what they should be called. There was no discussion on the centralization of special needs staff, that I heard so much about from teachers during the campaign.

The meeting finished with Trustee Reports, an enrollment update, (we are up by 22 students this year, there was a prediction of no increase, so that was good,) and a few announcements about future meetings.(NSBA,PSBA, & ASBA) The trustee reports were very brief, as everyone was involved in the election campaign. Massini made a comment about how he had not been to Ross Glen parent council do to a controversy. Not sure of the details on that.

The Board moved to in-camera, and thus concluded my public viewing of the meeting. I hope to get to as many board meetings as I can, but….just so you know, they CAN be interesting, but not always. I’m hoping as part of the future changes to CPoSD76 to get a schedule up, and maybe have someone else fill in on one or two meeetings? (wink, wink)

What do you think of the new suggested language of the policies, do you agree? Vote in the poll, and I can present the results to the Board.

Will rewriting the terms and definitions of inclusive education help to correct the pressing issues of the program?

  • There are deeper things at play here, and like 1984, controling language/speech is the real intent (64%, 9 Votes)
  • It is a contributing factor, but there are other things that could be done, that would have more quantifiable affects. (14%, 2 Votes)
  • It's just doing something for the sake of doing something. (14%, 2 Votes)
  • Yes, one of the leading causes of children being excluded is the oppressive language of exclusion, that isolates children and 'micro agresses' them before they have even begun. (7%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 14

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Policy 622 endorses child abuse.

(Image of Cari Stella, a de-transitioned person.)

A response to Chairman Rick Massini’s response.

Procedure K from policy 622 makes it an offense for any staff to share the information in the above articles with any child that is struggling with gender identity, or comes to them expressing trans identity. An offense that could cost that staff member their livelihood, and the enforcing of could cost the child their life.
“Policy 622 Procedure: k. ensure staff will not refer students to programs or services that attempt to change or repair a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity; and”

Procedure J encourages gender confusion, and pushes children to accept transitioning from known biological gender to the detriment of their health and continued will being, as the only ‘evidence’ based supports that will be provided to the child must be in the affirmative. Discouraging critical thinking, a fundamental tenant of educational development.

Policy 622 Procedure: j. work collaboratively with school staff and build capacity to identify and implement evidence-based supports for students;

Procedure L is a direct and flagrant violation of the law (Family Law Act) and grants rights and privileges to both staff and students, to which they are not entitled. No law or act of parliament grants this privilege. The procedure grants wholly inappropriate levels of relationship between staff and students, removes checks and balances that have been in place for decades to protect children from sexual abuse, strips parents of their rights, and creates destructive rifts in the parent child relationship.

Policy 622 Procedure: l. ensure all staff recognize the confidentiality of the sexual orientation and gender identity of all students and protect them from unwanted disclosure of such information.

Policy 622, the Guidelines to Best Practices, and Alberta Education under the direction of Minister David Eggen endorse, support, and attempt to enforce the abuse of children through negligent practice, policy, and procedure. For 16 months the Board of Medicine Hat School District #76 have refused to provide evidence or justification for their actions in implementing the Policies as written. No organization or scientific entity has provided the public with hard data on the measurable benefit gender identity politics have for the education or development of children.

By contrast, month over month medical professionals, psychologists, and parents have been able to gather and collect data, and warn this board and Alberta Education of the harms and ill effects that gender identity have on children and society. Real measurable examples of individuals irreparably harmed by the push to make ‘trans’ acceptable. Real examples of abuse of the policies to push explicit material at children.

As elected representatives of the people of Medicine Hat it is the duty of the Board of Trustees to represent the interests of their electorate first and foremost, and not that of any particular ideology or political party. Their first duty is to Medicine Hat. It is their duty to protect the children with whom parents have granted them temporary guardianship. It is not the Duty of the board to instill any particular ideology, ethics, or morality in those children.

Over the last 16 months, parents have been frustrated by the actions of the Board to belittle their concerns as fringe and ‘offensive.’ It is no small thing that this issue is the first time in SD76’s history that parents have rallied together to protect their children from vile and abusive policy. Make no mistake, parents see the practical ‘procedural’ implementation of these policies as vile. Setting aside the duty as a Trustee, it is the duty of every parent, grand parent and citizen to stall or prevent any group or ideology that seeks to use and abuse society’s children. There is no mistaking the fact that these policies were enforced outside the district for the purposes of using or abusing children for political or sexual ends.

Parents are not, and will never be satisfied by the answer that the Board was “following orders.” Following orders has not been adequate justification for committing any crime against another human being since at least the Nuremberg Trials. It is the fact that the Board has continued to refuse to answer the public that have led to this situation. Parents and the public are calling the Board to account to justify their actions over the past 16 months. It is for this reason that we are submitting the amendment to our petition today.

We, the electorate of Medicine Hat, have been left with no other option. Continued and repeated opportunities have been given to the board to appropriately address parental concerns. If an elected body is not representative of those that elected them, than that elected body serves no representative purpose, and appropriate actions must be taken to correct the situation.

 

For the Board’s Consideration:

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Vote Results!

I have tabulated the vote results.

68.2% in Favour of Amending

13.6% in Favour of Compiling Concerns

18.2% Spoiled Votes

Due to an unknown circumstance the voting got locked out late Thursday evening, and I was unaware of the problem until 9pm Friday. This led to a number of corrupt votes. However, even if all the votes that had been corrupt had been in favour of Compiling Concerns, the “Amend” Votes would still be the lead. The e-mail addresses of those votes DID come through, so I will attempt to ascertain how they voted, for clarity of record. If there was anyone else who attempted to vote, but got an error message, please ‘contact us.’

With the information as it stands now, I will be submitting the amended petition to the Secretary of the Board ASAP. Details on that will be posted later.

On a separate note, the final public school board meeting for the 2016/2017 year will be held at 6pm tomorrow the 20th of June at the central board office. I’ve gone over the agenda, and there are no policy changes on the agenda. Highlights include ASBA Zone 6 meeting overview, PSBA General Assembly Overview, and a discussion on the “Classroom Improvement Fund” (CIF)

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Court Costs, 622, and where we are going…

Well, it has been a long road. I’ve been to 14 board meetings now. Last night’s meeting was no different. Each one being pretty much the same. Crowd sizes varying. Feb, 2016 – 20+, March Regular – 40+, March Special – 90+, April 0 – as no one knew where to go, May Public 120+. Obviously parents had and have concerns over Policies 621 and 622. So how DID the board respond? Well, I’ve posted here a short list of why the parents of SD76 were not satisfied with the process, and why I was forced to go to court on behalf of the parents. Yet, as was the case in several other board meetings, the parents got a ‘lecturing’ by a Trustee about how ‘open’ and attentive they were to parental concerns, without actually addressing a single concern that was brought up, or issue with the process. And there were issues. I wrote about them here.

So, where did that leave us? Well, we were told by Trustee Riley last Tuesday that we were wasting the administrations time by continuing to press the issue, when it is “done”. Mr. Riley even going so far as to say that they would not be looking at this issue again unless legislation is changed. Stating that the parents were operating out of fear of change. Even quoting F.D.R.’s famous statement on fear.

“Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

I guess what parents are supposed to take away from that is, being afraid for the safety of children, is irrational. I guess we all should just accept that our child’s well being is up to the board. Just ignore the fact that gender politics have been banned in parts of Australia (NSW) because of the proven risk it poses to the well being of children. Just ignore the fact that predators have already used gender politics to victimize children. Just ignore the fact the GSA’s are being used to promote high-risk homosexual life style, and teaching such wonderful things as “Anal Phisting”, and “Golden Showers.” Just ignore that the district have set no standards as to age appropriateness. (So you know, 4 of the 5 trustees have told me that there are 6 & 7 year old children in the district who are trans. As if a 7 year old’s mind is even developed enough to understand the concept.)

It is reckless and irresponsible to refuse to look at a policy unless and only if a change in legislation is made. (Not to mention that is a direct contradiction of the amendment that was just past to 622. Which stated that any further amendments to the policy shall be in accordance with the existing procedures on policy amendment.) It is clear that the board does not have an accurate understanding of the legislation, and as such, the policies need to be adjusted. Mr. Riley stated that children have a right to privacy when sharing information with teachers. Citing Bill 10, the Alberta Bill of Rights, and the Canadian Charter of rights as his bases for this believe. In fact the word privacy does not exist in any of the sources cited. In fact, Bill 10 states the following:

Alberta Bill 10 Notice to parent
58.1
(1) A board shall provide notice to a parent of a student where courses, programs of study or instructional materials, or instruction or exercises, include subject-matter that deals primarily and explicitly with religion or human sexuality.
(2) Where a teacher or other person providing instruction,teaching a course or program of study or using the instructional materials referred to in subsection (1) receives a written request signed by a parent of a student that the student be excluded from the instruction, course or program of study or use of
instructional materials, the teacher or other person shall, in accordance with the request of the parent, permit the student, without academic penalty,
(a) to leave the classroom orplace where the instruction,course or program of study is taking place or the instructional materials are being used for the duration ofthe part of the instruction, course or program of study, or the use of the instructional materials, that includes the subject-matter referred to in subsection (1), or (b) to remain in the classroom or place without taking part in the instruction, course or program of study or using the instructional materials.
Alberta Bill of Rights States:
Recognition and declaration of rights and freedoms
1 It is hereby recognized and declared that in Alberta there exist without discrimination by reason of race, national origin, colour, religion, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity or gender expression, the following human rights and fundamental freedoms,
namely:
  • (a) the right of the individual to liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property, and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law;
  • (b) the right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law;
  • (c) freedom of religion;
  • (d) freedom of speech;
  • (e) freedom of assembly and association;
  • (f) freedom of the press;
  • (g) the right of parents to make informed decisions respecting the education of their children.

I could find no reference in the Canadian charter that refers to student child confidentiality or privacy. Perhaps Mr. Riley was referring to the Privacy Act, but that act is in reference to the retention of private data by government bodies.

Alberta Family Law Act:

(6)Except where otherwise limited by law, including a parenting order, each guardian may exercise the following powers:

  1. (a) to make day-to-day decisions affecting the child, including having the day-to-day care and control of the child and supervising the child’s daily activities;
  2. (b) to decide the child’s place of residence and to change the child’s place of residence;
  3. (c) to make decisions about the child’s education, including the nature, extent and place of education and any participation in extracurricular school activities;
  4. (d) to make decisions regarding the child’s cultural, linguistic,religious and spiritual upbringing and heritage;
  5. (e) to decide with whom the child is to live and with whom the child is to associate;
  6. (f) to decide whether the child should work and, if so, the nature and extent of the work, for whom the work is to be done and related matters;
  7. (g) to consent to medical, dental and other health-related treatment for the child;
  8. (h) to grant or refuse consent where consent of a parent or guardian is required by law in any application, approval, action, proceeding or other matter;
  9. (i) to receive and respond to any notice that a parent or guardian is entitled or required by law to receive;
  10. (j) subject to the Minors’ Property Act and the Public Trustee Act, to commence, defend, compromise or settle any legal proceedings relating to the child and to compromise or settle any proceedings taken against the child;
  11. (k) to appoint a person to act on behalf of the guardian in an emergency situation or where the guardian is temporarily absent because of illness or any other reason;
  12. (l) to receive from third par ties health, education or other information that may significantly affect the child;
  13. (m) to exercise any other powers reasonably necessary to carry out the responsibilities of guardianship.

Mr. Riley quite correctly states that the Trustees swore an Oath to follow the lawful commands of the Education Minister. However, Minister David Eggen’s command to keep secret from parents information to which they are legally entitled is an UNLAWFUL command, and by their oath, they should refuse to follow it.

“I believe fear is leading this issue, but it is not an irrational fear of change. No, it is a culture of fear…”

I believe fear is leading this issue, but it is not an irrational fear of change. No, it is a culture of fear perpetuated by Alberta Education (ATA,PSBA,ASBA, etc…), the NDP government, and their front groups like “Progress Alberta” and “iSMSS.” Driven by the aggressive behaviour of the LGBT… groups that threaten, harass, and bully.

This culture of fear is even embedded deep within SD76. From notices passed around by the ATA, to taking teachers aside and reprimanding them for being witness to a petition. This is a culture of cover up, silence, and oppression. I’ve never even gone into the questionable ‘hearings’ policies. That is a whole other mess entirely. There is a reason our little website has had over 53,000 visits in a month. Those parents, staff, and electorate who have been abused and maligned by the system know they can come to me, and others on this site, and share their stories without being exposed to the attacks and social media witch hunt that would surely follow.

Now, I have been accused of being aggressive as well, but there is a difference. The things I have said are true. They are predominately first hand quotes, and are experiences I have personally been privy to. Yes, not everything I have said is flattering to those individuals, but those who are directing the education of our children must be held accountable for their words and actions. They are the examples to our children, and they exert great influence over them.

As I have stated in the past, I am no stranger to bullying. I have been on the receiving end of a ‘hazing,’ and been mocked for the hobbies I enjoy. I can identify the difference between criticism and bullying. Many of the things I’ve said or accusations I have made were submitted in my affidavit during the appeal, and I swore before God that they were true, under penalty of law. The appeal process even gave the district’s lawyer the chance to cross examine (question my statements), and they did not do so.

“…and I swore before God that they were true, under penalty of law.”

That brings us to the petition. Why DID I feel compelled to appeal this particular petition, the first case of it’s kind in Canadian history? If you believe the ill-researched articles in the media, it was because we wanted to waste everyone’s time, and we are on the hunt to ‘out’ all the LGBT…. If you believe the board, it was because we were afraid of change, and would not accept that the issue was ‘done’ before it had ever even begun.

So, why not ask the man that appealed to the court? Why not ASK him why he felt obligated to appeal? Surely the man who filed the petition, and it’s appeal could tell you why he appealed. Surely the source would be the best place to get the information as to motivations? Well, I have stated here before why I felt obligated to appeal, (via the main contentions argued in court) but I suppose a reiteration of those reasons is necessary.

  1. The 25% condition of section 269(1)(a) of the School Act was not evaluated for the petition.

  2. That 259 signatures that only had postal codes were not considered valid.

  3. That when asked for details on the 110 rejected out of district signatures, the Secretary refused to provide them.

  4. A possible privacy violation of a witness to the petition.

There were in fact two more reasons that the petition was appealed, but more time was spent in the filings, that addressed those two issues, than was spent during arguments in the appeal. The two additional reasons were:

  1.  The actions of the board before the petition was submitted appeared to show prejudice against a fair evaluation of the petition.

  2. The Secretary had informed Dr. Prince and I that we could not have the petition back and implied that no amendment to the petition could be made. Thus 100s of hours of work would have to be repeated in order to re-submit.

As the individual who submitted the petition, it was my responsibility to make sure a fair and just evaluation was conducted. If you subtracted the 110 signatures that they said were out of district, that left 1924 tax payers in the lurch. After a petition is rejected, the School Act specifies that an appeal to the Court of Queens Bench is the only option left available. Although some would have you believe that it was a fruitless endeavor, Paragraph 18 of the Justice Tilleman’s judgment proves otherwise. In it, he recounts how the district stated that we could in fact amend our petition for re-evaluation. This was, as I’ve said, contrary to what they had said before the appeal.

Finally, what about the cost? Well, there were several opportunities before the petition to have genuine, bidirectional dialogue between parents and the board, but parents only met with resistance. At one point, parents were even told that it was up to the courts to figure this all out. But when parents went to court, they were being “Frivolous and Vexatious.” The fact of the matter is, the justice had 3 opportunities to declare our case frivolous. During the speak to date, where the merits of our appeal were evaluated, during the proceeding of the appeal, and during the rendering of the judgement. The districts lawyer ALSO had opportunity to argue to the justice that we were being vexatious. In neither the appeal proceedings, or the rendering of the judgement, were costs brought up.

[UPDATE: There is apparently no way to get the clarification I was seeking. A response of agreement to the costs as levied by SD76 has been sent to their lawyer.]

As was stated in the Medicine Hat News, we will be paying the $2300 bill as was received. I am in the process of attempting to get clarification from Justice Tilleman as to whether it was his intent in his judgement for us to pay costs. I am currently awaiting a call back from resolution services. The Board has given me a deadline of May 26th to respond to their request. This gives me a few days to get that clarification. I want to make it very clear, I am not paying this bill because I believe I was in the wrong in taking it to court. If I had to, I would do it all over again. It is silly to suggest that ‘not pursuing costs’ would set precedence forcing the district to forgive costs on any other potential case. Each case is unique, and the decision could be made at that time.

On the matter of ‘wasted money,’ I want to leave you with a few facts:

  • During the previous 2 years, SD76 paid $46,600 a year in membership fees to the unelected Alberta School Board Association (ASBA).
  • Beyond that, the ASBA charges ~$250 per hour for legal services.
  • Trustee Riley gave a report last Tuesday on the ASBA Zone 6 meeting, in which he stated that the ASBA was planning on increasing those membership fees, and increasing the legal services fees to ~$350 per hour.
  • What exactly does membership fees buy, if they don’t include legal services? A pool of potential candidates for positions? Is that worth the cost?
  • The Trustees had a 13.7% increase in ‘benefits’ on the 2017/18 budget. That means a $16,000 increase. From $10,500 to $26,500. Non-union staff only saw a 3% increase and that was spread across wages & benefits.
  • The NDP are FORCING a reduction in school fees, while expecting the districts to maintain the same level of services.

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Board meeting Recap and Results of the CPoSD76 vote.

A quick recap of the board meeting. I am writing a more thorough walk through, but due to constraints on my time, I was unable to complete it tonight, so here is the tl;dr.

  1. 622 amendments were passed, and Terry Riley stated that they will not be looking at the policies again unless legislation changes.
  2. The board has chosen to continue their pursuit of court costs from me.
  3. The budget was passed.
  4. Terry Riley gave a report on the ASBA zone 6 meeting.

As for the your vote on how the CPoSD76 should proceed.

  • 39% – 1. Host a meeting & Invite the Board, then determine next step.
  • 60% – 2. Submit amendment to the petition, and proceed according to School Act
  • 1% – 3. Select four representatives to convey concerns to the board.

Given that costs were not rescinded, even more votes from 1 would be shifted to 2.

A meeting for signatories and stake holders in the petition will be held on the 27 of May. Venue TBA.

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May SD76 public board meeting…

Tonight at 6pm is the monthly SD76 public board meeting.

There are a few major items on the agenda for the meeting.

  1. A letter from the A.S.B.A. (Alberta School Board Association) with info about the October Election. Couple of highlights, “Ideally there would be as few acclimations [new candidates] as possible,” “we have prepared a package of information to assist school boards in creating their own local election campaign packages.”[The A.S.B.A is the same institution that wants to eliminate school choice, and defund all other school options.]
  2. A vote on if to pass the 622 amendments. (This is pretty much a given.)
  3. The results on if they will retract the $2300 bill that they already sent me for following the school act and appealing the petition.
  4. A presentation of the School Budget. (Presumably by the Secretary.)

The Agenda, and all relevant documents can be found here.

 

A final note: Results of the vote on how to proceed will be available Wednesday.

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April 2017 Board Meeting Breakdown

Last Tuesday April 25th was the monthly public school board meeting. I know many of you have been awaiting a summary of the meeting, and have particular interest in the 622 Review Report. There will be a separate post on that matter on behalf of the group very soon. There have been some developments in the last few days in regards to the Board that warrant the report being addressed separately.

The board meeting opened with a couple of minor addendum to the agenda, which were approved. The minutes of the previous meeting were adopted, and Trustee Terry Riley was in attendance by phone. The chair quickly went over correspondence, and then recognized recent student and staff accomplishments.

  • A student was selected to attend “MLA for Day” in Edmonton
    • Special note was made of the fact the MLA Bob Wanner was somehow involved in this program.
  • A teacher had a children’s book published, “Chinook in Winter.”
  • A mention of the Wrestling Championships going on at Hat High.

After accomplishments, a report on the New York field trip was given. This report included several statements by 4 of the students that were a part of the trip. The students were asked what was the most memorable part of the field trip. They listed the UN, Ellis Island, and the Metropolitan Museum. One student mentioned the UN Universal Declaration of Humans Rights being the most translated document in the world. Just a minor nit pick, but the UN UDHR has been translated into 502 languages. The New Testament of the Bible has been translated into 1442 different languages. I was little surprised no one questioned or corrected that statement. I’m curious by what standard the UN considers a document a document.

I found it further curious that there was so much emphasis on the visit to the UN, and the UDHR, yet the current provincial government does not seem to be concerned with it contents. It is the UDHR, in article 26, paragraph 3 that we find “(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children,” and yet we have seen a concerted effort by the ATA, ASBA, and Alberta Education to violate that right, and remove school choice via shutting down of separate home school boards, and a demand that other options be defunded. Very curious indeed.

After the field trip report, a District focus update was given. This was quite lengthy, and a copy of the presentation was included in the agenda. I will not be going through this here, but suffice to say, it contained a lot of acronyms, and creative use of corporate education speak. The main acronym I was able to get from it was FAIRR – Formative, Alignment, Informing, Reflective, Reporting. The main points I picked up on were

  • It uses the Power Teacher Pro Platform
  • Outcome based
  • Something called Freshgrade and Seesaw
  • There is a new report card prototype
  • A shift to “Feelings” (ugh)
  • Current report cards are ‘antiquated’
  • Half the schools in the district are in the pilot.
  • It involves Pedagogy (Seems a bit redundant to say this)
  • Davidson said they were establishing shared terminology.
  • GLO’s will be in the language of the competencies.
  • Forbes wanted to know what has been done to revamp the arts program, and stated that BC and Ontario have a good program.

Next they approved a field trip to Chicago, and then reports from committees were given. Massini started with a report on the National School Board conference the He, Davidson, and Wilson-Fraser attended in the U.S. He spoke of the workshops he attended, including:

  • How to become a highly effective board
  • Communicating with community
    • He thinks the board can do considerably more in this area.
    • Wants to communicate with other groups.
    • Proposed to make a plan to communicate.
  • Board evaluations
    • Massini suggested the board talk about having more frequent evaluations
    • Riley thought there was no need to go into this, as the actions of the board need to be in operation for a while before they can be evaluated.
  • Meaning of sex on title 9 (Massini was unable to attend.)
    • Title 9 is an (rule) authority brought in by Obama that deals with sex and sexuality on campuses. (This is not a Canadian, or Albertan issue. Curious as to why it would have been necessary to attend.)
  • Editor of Huffington Post
    • This apparently started strong and then fizzled. (meh, not sure why the editor of a new organization was important to American school boards.)
  • Dealing with malcontents (Gee, I wonder why this was on the list?)

Davidson also mentioned attending:

  • Use of social media
  • Overcoming poverty (as a community)

The Coordinating committee minutes were adopted.

The public school board committee(?) report was mentioned.

Riley brought up the recent decision by the Saskatchewan court to prevent non-Catholic students from attending a Catholic school. Riley wants the board to discuss the effects it will have on the district. I posted about it here.

Freeman went to the District Learning Exchange, and the Council of Councils as well as the george Davidson council.

Wilson-Fraser went to council meetings, and noted how they are getting ready for year end.

Forbes went to the Learning Exchanges and the Creswood Council. Talked about the 20 or so parents at the meeting, and just how involved the parents of that school are.

Riley went to the Wilson learning center, and brought up 5 things to report

  1. Building Playgrounds
  2. Cost of outdoor Education
  3. A soggy section of the grounds that needs fixed
  4. 1st Year of grade 9 grads.
  5. They are on board with 622 (Who isn’t, after all, they HAVE to be on board with it.)

Massini attended the student presentations at Crescent Heights. One of which was on Renewable Energy. He also went to the South View Casino event and the Ken Saur School opening meeting.

The meeting concluded with Freeman giving her 622 Review Report.

This was a marathon meeting, and a lot of ground was covered. The CPoSD76 response to the 622 report will be next.

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