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.
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?
Total Voters: 14
(Image of Cari Stella, a de-transitioned person.)
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:
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)
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.
As for the your vote on how the CPoSD76 should proceed.
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.
Tonight at 6pm is the monthly SD76 public board meeting.
There are a few major items on the agenda for the meeting.
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.
It has been an interesting week. A report on the review of SD76 Policy 622 came out at the end of the last SD76 public board meeting. However, prior to that there was a invitation by a Trustee for a meeting with members of our group to discuss common ground and perhaps how we might come back from the brink on this policy. That meeting was set for Tuesday May 2nd.
On April 25th the board released their report, and immediately on the 26th a request for a statement was made by multiple media outlets. I Shared with the 557 members of our Facebook group that report, and requested their thoughts on it. I also met with numerous residents of Medicine Hat in person, to get their feedback. I began to write up a statement on behalf of the group.
On Friday April 28th I received an e-mail from the Lawyer for SD76, requesting I pay costs for the appeal. The stated reason being that, even though costs were not brought up during the appeal proceedings nor were they mentioned in Justice Tilleman’s decision, according to sd76’s lawyer, the Alberta Rules of Court states that SD76, as the ‘winning’ party, was entitled to seeks reimbursement for costs. This seemed to me counter intuitive to a reconciliation process. Thus I delayed the statement, and let the group know it would be delayed.
In the time between the April 28th and May 2nd I asked several signatories about the request for costs, (and consulted a lawyer.) The unanimous consensus from the signatories was that they too saw the request for costs counter intuitive to a reconciliation process. Some were more colorful in their answers than others. Thus, I held off on making any statements until after meeting with members of the board on May 2nd.
The May 2nd meeting saw a majority of the board in attendance. The meeting was not an official meeting of the board, and as such no official decisions were made. There were 2 other CPoSD76 representatives also present.
Overall the meeting seemed to be positive, with a positive outcome. There was some airing of grievances by both parties. A lot of clearing up of misunderstandings and mis-communications. Everyone conducted themselves in a professional and respectful manner, with everyone working towards the goal of coming to a consensus on how to move forward from this issue. Both the board members and the concerned parents understood that neither could make any decisions without first going back to their respective parties with the proposals.
A proposed process by a Trustee was that the concerned parents would arrange a meeting with the signatories/members of the public, and they would invite the board to attend that meeting, and address the issues and concerns that they had. The concerned parents in turn stated that they would be open to that idea, but they would have to bring it back to the other concerned parents, to decide if they wished to follow that process. It was also stated by the concerned parents that for that process to work, a couple of conditions would have to be met.
The board members agreed to bring these requests up for discussion at their next available opportunity.
So, the proposal, to you the concerned parents is this:
We set up a town hall style meeting for the purposes of inviting the Board of SD76 to attend, and decide based on the feedback/participation of the board if/when we should file our amendment to the petition. We let you decide if you wish to move forward with the petition, or if you are satisfied with the feedback from the board, and that your concerns have been heard. Details on the date of the meeting will be forthcoming.
As for a statement on the 622 Review Report. Some of the concerns over it have been mentioned here before, some others have been shared with me since. To summarize those:
Due to the purpose of the meeting, I was not able to raise all of these issues. Over all the Trusstees did agree that communication between parent councils, parents, and the board was in need of a review, and that more readily available information was necessary. There was also mention of how best to engage parents, and the timing of parent council meetings.
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.
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
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:
Davidson also mentioned attending:
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
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.