Tag Archive petition

[RESULTS Update] To Court, or not to Court

UPDATE


39% In Favor of returning to court.
61% Wish to focus on elections.

I respect the will of the people, and I too believe that the most important thing to focus on right now, is getting people on the school board who respect the authority and rights of parents to be involved with their children’s education. As one parent put it, “the lines of communication are down.” Just like I told the Secretary last September, my role is and always has been to restoring communication with parents. From my attempts to record proceedings, to my speaking up to the board, and to my taking the petition to appeal.

Given that the Secretary and Board had clear instructions to accept a copy of amended signatures from the Justice, and they have chosen not do so, it is evident to me and a majority of voters who signed the petition, that returning to court will not repair the lines of communication. I do understand the reasons why so many voted to go back to court. The Board, through allies in the media, have essentially maligned the electorate on the petition. They have portrayed the signatories as if they could not get the support for their position, and that they were unable to file a correct petition, when that is clearly not the case.

Should any of those signatories who voted in favor of returning to court wish to pick up the banner, and pursue an appeal to the Court of Queen’s Bench again, I will provide all necessary documents and evidence needed to do so. I support their right to do so, and I understand why they may want to. I will however point my focus on rebuilding the lines of communication, through the election of candidates that support parental authority, educational choice, and quality curriculum.


(For consistency and ease of understanding in this post I will be using the numbers that the Secretary used when discussing the number of signatures on the petition. There is some disparity between the numbers that I hold to and what the Secretary holds to, but in the grand scheme of things, those small differences would have no affect on the final outcome.)

On August 14, 2017, Secretary Jerry Lebossiere of SD#76 rejected an amendment to the petition I submitted in September, 2016. His excuse for rejecting it was that he could not accept any of the 121 signatures that had had their addresses corrected. In his rejection letter the secretary stated that “These addresses are not set out opposite to an original signature but are simply written in over the photocopied signatures,” and that “as Secretary Treasurer I have no discretion to permit the inclusion of names on a petition that do not comply with the requirements.” Additionally when the Secretary rejected the initial amendment of the petition on July 7th, he set out a an expiry for the petition of July 21, 2017.

When I took the petition to appeal on March 10, 2017, I did so seeking clarification on the act, as well as I contested the rejection of 259 signatures that had listed only a Postal Code, and did not include  the street address. Through the proceedings on March 10th, Justice Tilleman made it clear that a copy was sufficient for the amendment. From The Court Transcript: “Okay, so her[secretary’s legal council] last words were the secretary is absolutely willing to evaluate fairly any petition that is re-filed or resubmitted, so, I mean, I take that to mean for example if you used a photocopy of the previous that someone, in an affidavit, certifies is the true copy, and the secretary says no, I’m not going to accept that, you’ll be back in court and I wouldn’t be very happy. It’s going to be accepted.” The Justice earlier in the conversation stating “…then you would need addresses on the 259 so you’re 100 [this is rounded] short, sounds to me like you’ve collected other names, assuming you want to go the (b) route,…” To top it all off, the Secretary’s legal council said, in her own words, “There’s no time limit on the petition names, there’s nothing that says that their name is on the petition for only a set period of time

Taking the rest of the transcript into context, it is clear to me that the Justice gave the Secretary clear latitude to accept amended address on a copy, and also expected him to accept it, and the district freely told the Justice that we had no deadline/expiry on signatures. I will admit that I did not give a sworn copy of the petition sheets. I did however use the copy that was given to me by his legal council during the appeal proceedings, and red ink was used to indicate clearly which lines had been amended. The secretary did not contest that the pages were not a true copy, he contested that he had no way of knowing if the addressed were true. In affect insinuating that I or others had committed fraud, and made up the addresses. I might add, he provided no proof for his accusation.

In an effort to calm the Secretary’s concerns, on the 21 of August, 2017, I e-mailed the secretary outlining my objection to his rejection of the 121 corrected address. I offered to provide him with sworn affidavits from the individuals who had collected the address information on the 121 addresses. I requested that he inform me by the 23rd of August whether he would accept that, and there by accept the petition. As of the 25 he has not. And so, just like in October of 2016, he refused to provide clarifications in a timely fashion.

That brings me to the point of this post. I am ready to go back to court. I am ready to swear under oath, and before the God of heaven and earth that my statements are true to the best of my knowledge. I stand by the petition, and I stand by the amendment and that it fulfilled all the requirements necessary to be accepted by the Secretary. I am ready to defend that position before a Justice once again. I however will do what the people would prefer. The accusations against me mean nothing, as I and those who know me, know they have no truth to them, so I don’t need to clear my name in court. (Although I would be ok if it were officially cleared. I’m good either way.)

I’m posting to put it to a vote. To you the people. On Monday, if the vote is in favour, I will file at the Court of Queens Bench once again. If I file, a ‘speak to’ date will be set by the Clerk. At which a justice will weigh the merrits of the appeal, and will determine if I have sufficient grounds to appeal. So, by filing on Monday, it does not confirm that it will go to appeal. It may get thrown out. (Looking through the transcript, I find that highly unlikely.) If it isn’t thrown out, I believe we have a very strong case.

Given that the election is mere weeks away, and we might have a different Board after October 16, I want to give everyone the opportunity to state if they think court would be a worth while endeavor. As I’ve done from the beginning, I will do what the people wish for me to do.

In summary:

  • The submission on July 7th was sufficient.
  • The submission on July 21 was a correction asked for by the Secretary, and it brought the submission an additional 71 signatures further over the minimum.
  • The Secretary says a copy is not acceptable.
  • The Secretary gave a deadline, and says the signatures have expired.
  • The Justice said a copy WAS acceptable.
  • The Justice said he would not be happy if a copy wasn’t accepted.
  • The Secretary’s Legal council told the Justice that the signatures did not expire.

Votes will be closed 8pm Sunday August 27th, 2017.


The voting is closed. Results will be posted tomorrow.

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Media Release Regarding SD76’s second rejection of the CPoSD76 petition.

 

On July 21, the CPoSD76 submitted additional information to the Secretary of SD76 at his request. Our previous submission on July 7th was in compliance with the proceedings of the court appeal on March 10th, 2017.

Our submission on July 21st was an attempt to work with the Board to have it meet new requirements set out by the Secretary, that were not in fact discussed during the appeal proceedings.

In regards to the response by the Secretary for our July 21 Submission:

  1. We did not receive back from the Secretary the original of the petition from September 2016, and a copy of that original is all we had to work with. The “penciling in” as CHAT news put it was in fact at the request of the Superintendent and Chair of the Board on July 7th. The addresses were those of the signatures that had previously only had a postal code, and they were filled in with RED INK so as to not mistake them as being originally on the petition. This of course could have been told to CHAT had they made any real effort to get a response from the CPoSD76 prior to releasing their one sided story.
  2. The insinuation by the Secretary that we had ‘made up’ or ‘falsified’ signatures or address is a slanderous accusation with no truth to it. Everything we have done has been above reproach, and again, Justice Tilleman specifically asked the Legal council if the Board or Secretary had concerns with the witnesses or integrity of the signatures, and the Legal council stated that they did not. The CPoSD76 take exception to the suggestion, and are considering appropriate responses.
  3. The Secretary rejected all the effort that the CPoSD76 went to get the information for the postal code signatures, and the CPoSD76 believe that they were deliberately mislead during the appeal process. The CPoSD76 do not believe that the Board and Secretary have honoured the statements made to the Justice during the March 10th appeal proceedings.
  4. The CPoSD76 have seen continued obstruction from the Board and Secretary in regards to the petition, and do not believe that any petition would be accepted at any time. This is evident through the changing requirements, and the acceptance and then rejection of signatures, the continued miss characterization of facts and numbers, and repeated misrepresentations of the intentions and concerns of the CPoSD76.

Despite chairman Massini’s assertions that the matter is closed, and that we must “start over,” the CPoSD76 do not hold that same position. During the March 10th appeal Justice Tilleman invited the petitioners to return to his court room, should the district reject the petition a second time. The CPoSD76 are considering all options.

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Press release regarding amended petition deadline.

Media Release

2017 July 21

Concerned Parents of SD76

Re: Amended Petition

 

We have resubmitted the Amended Petition which now meets the extra conditions requested by SD76.

 

We have gone the extra mile as requested by the School Board.  The Amended Petition submitted June met all the criteria outlined by the judge in our appeal, but the Board requested we reformat a few things to technically fit their interpretation.  We have now done that.

 

They testified in court that 30 names on the original were valid, but subsequently went back to challenge them.  Although we don’t believe we were required to do so, we have collected 75 replacement names as an act of good faith.

 

As directed by the judge, we have submitted additional information to complete the addresses on 118 of the original submissions that only had a postal code.  The School Board requested that rather than submit that information as a summary list, that we add it directly to the original lines of the petition, which we have now done.

 

The amended petition is now complete.  The petition meets all the criteria established by the School Act as clarified by the Judge in our prior appeal.  We look forward to working with the Board to complete this petition process and to be able to provide them with our concerns on policies 621 and 622.

 

Since the petition, we have done a lot of work with the Board, and have forged a lot of common understanding, but the Board is in a tough place.  The Minister has given them direction on these issues, and they feel bound to follow that direction.  As parents however, we disagree with the direction the Minister is heading.  The petition, as established by the School Act, is the means to officially voice opposition to what the Board decided.  This then allows them to convey that official opposition to the Minister.

 

We believe that further rejection of a legitimate petition by the Secretary or the Board can only be seen as defiance of the Judges ruling and obstructionist behaviour to avoid listening to Concerned Parents.

 

 

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Update! Update! Update!

Thanks to the threats against me recently, last night the CPoSD76 website crossed over 100,000 hits after only 3 months of operation. Several thousands since the news broke. Based on projections, 100,000 was a feat I wasn’t expecting the site to achieve for another week and a half. Over the last couple of days I and the CPoSD76 have received numerous e-mails and phone calls of support, and asking me to keep up the good fight. In fact, all of them, who had never signed the petition, asked where they could sign. This was a problem, as it became time consuming to write back each person asking.

So thanks to the generosity of local churches, this Sunday is going to be a petition Signing day.

If you:

  • Are a Canadian Citizen over 18
  • Live within the boundaries of School District #76
  • Have not declared support for the Catholic School Board
  • And have not signed the petition before

Sunday July 16th

From 11:00 to 11:30 AM at
Victory Lutheran Church 2793 Southview Drive SE, Medicine Hat, AB T1B 2H1
T: 403-527-5617 E: contact@victorylutheran.ca

OR

From 11:00am – 12:00pm at
Medicine Hat Christian Reformed Church, 300 Primrose Drive SE, Medicine Hat, AB  T1B 3S9
403 529 5650
ALSO
If you are unable to make the petition signing events, you can contact us, and will be do our best to have a volunteers arrange a meet up to sign the petition.
We got 1500 signatures in a weekend before. Based on the support throughout the community, 138 should be a cake walk.
With 138 signatures, parents will finally be heard by their elected representatives.

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More Journalistic failure, and the petition amendment.

tl;dr – Why did the amendment fail? The Secretary changed the understood expectations for the 111 amended postal code signatures, and decided that there were more signatures in the original that didn’t qualify. Parents now know they are playing Calvinball.

Accurate Report on the Petition Amendment Rejection:

On June 20th, the CPoSD76 amended their petition. I received notice that a decision of the sufficiency of the petition had been made on or about 3:30pm Thursday July 6th. It was requested that I come and meet with the superintendent at 8:30AM July 7th. Despite the short notice, I informed the superintendent’s office that I would make the meeting.

I was informed that they had decided that the amendment was insufficient because they had rejected all 111 amended postal code signatures on the grounds that they we not re-signed each in their entirety, even though that was not a requirement discussed during the March 10, 2017 appeal. Even though the Justice said that even a photocopy would have been good enough, as the point of their rejection was that the secretary would have had to have exerted extra effort to ascertain the electoral status of the signature.

In addition to the 111 corrected postal signatures, I submitted 286 new signatures with the amendment. The secretary claims that 3 of those signatures have addresses outside the boundaries, and 1 was missing a character on the postal code. He further claims that 19 of the signatures are duplicates of signatures on the original petition. A claim that is currently being verified. Put simply,

Original Petition:

  • 1629 signatures were determined to be acceptable and uncontested through the proceedings by Court of Queen’s Bench.
  • 2000 are required to have a petition accepted.
  • 371 was the shortfall.

The Amendment:

  • 397 Total
  • 4 allegedly erroneous signatures
  • 19 claimed to be duplicates
  • 374 Remaining.
  • 374 > 371.

The Secretary claims to have done not the first, or the second, but the THIRD review of the Original petition, AFTER it was stated to the Justice that 1629 signatures on the original were not contested. In his third exemplary review of the original petition he claims to have found 30 duplicated signatures that had previously not been noticed by himself, his staff, or his legal council. 374 – 30 = 344.  344 < 371.

  • 111 – again rejected postal code signatures
  • 27 – Needed new signatures
  • 138 – What the board is asking us to get by July 21 (Which is the deadline for appealing to the Court of Queen’s Bench again, not entirely the boards deadline.)

The Grossly inadequate Articles in both Medicine Hat News & CHATNews:

I will not go into details on all of the errors in the two articles at this time, however I will state that neither of the news agencies attempted contact myself or the CPoSD76 prior to publishing their articles. An e-mail from MHN was sent to my personal account at 1:19PM, AFTER they published their article, and stating that they were “looking for a short, written comment to use”, to have it to them “before 4 p.m,” and criteria given by which the CPoSD76 comment must be framed. I did not know of the e-mail until 8pm. Both articles portrayed the numbers of the amendment inaccurately, and in a negative light.

Questions for your consideration:

Why didn’t they want to get a comment before publishing?

Why didn’t they ask the board why they needed to review the petition so many times if they had already done a thorough evaluation in Oct, 2016?

Why didn’t they ask the board why they would lead parents and the Justice to believe that all they needed to do to correct the postal code signatures was get the addresses, if that is not what they wanted/required?

Why didn’t they ask ANY questions of the CPoSD76, but simply want a statement?

Why  didn’t they report that board and admin question the legality of Justice Tilleman’s decision to allow an amendment, but choose not to pursue a challenge of it?

A reporter wanting to get the truth, and facts would have asked questions. None were asked.

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Petition Status Report

It has been 2 weeks since the CPoSD76 submitted their amendment to the Petition. Considering that an amendment to a petition had not been done before, upon giving the amendment package to the Secretary, I requested a timeline on it’s evaluation. Witnessed by the Chairman of the Board, and other concerned parents, I inquired whether we could expect the timeline outlined in the School Act. Both the Secretary and the Chairman stated that we could.

Section 269 of the School Act States – “269(1) When a board of a district situated wholly or partly within the boundaries of a city receives a petition calling for a public meeting that is signed
(a) by 25% of the parents, who are also electors, of the students in a school, or
(b) by the lesser of
(i) 2000 electors, and
(ii) 25% of the electors,
the board shall within 21 days from the date that it receives the
petition (in this case, the amendment) publish notice of the public meeting to be held under this
section in accordance with section 270.”

At this point, we have only to wait. Since the Legal Council for the District informed the Justice during the appeal that the district was not contesting any other aspect of the petition, other than what was addressed in the amendment, we need have only to wait for the evaluation. With only 400 signatures to evaluate, I expect we should hear from the Secretary soon.

A post will be made as soon as a response from the District has been received. Thank you for your patience.

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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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The Chairman of the Board has responded

[Update: Please, everyone that is able, vote. The higher the number of votes I get, the better reading I have on what the public will is, and the more credibility there is in the option chosen moving forward. I intend on closing the vote on Friday the 16, and if option 1 is in the clear majority, I will formally amend the petition ASAP.]

Last week the Concerned Parents of SD76 presented an open letter to the Board of SD76, asking how they would like to proceed. The Board was presented in the letter with 2 options. Amend the petition and have it proceed as outlined in the school act, or work together to set up a public meeting that would be satisfactory to both sides. Given that parents want an opportunity to have bidirectional dialogue with the Board, and to put the concerns of parents to rest.

On Sunday June 11, 2017, the Chairman, Rick Massini, gave a response to one of the CPoSD76. He stated that he had spoken with the board, and that they had decided to just have us submit a written summary of our concerns, and that they would accept it for information at their next Board Meeting. (Presumably the June 20th meeting.) The Board would then give a written response to those concerns.

He further stated that there was to much on the agenda for the next meeting, and too many things going on into the summer to make time for the options presented in the open letter. It was clarified to Mr. Massini by the CPoSD76, that if parents went with the amendment of the petition, the school act requires that they make the time. It was also stated that the school act timeline would be more aggressive than if a mutually satisfactory meeting were worked out with parents.

Compiling and submitting parent concerns by Friday the 16 is an impossible timeline, (Friday is when all documents for the June 20th board meeting will be available on the sd76.ab.ca website,) so that means if parents wish to submit them, they would not be responded too until after the September Board meeting. Which would be the last board meeting before the Municipal Trustee Elections. It would also mean that trustees would not be a part of that process, like it would be as outlined in the School Act.

As I am only one of the CPoSD76, and up to this point I have not acted on my own, but with the input of and endorsement of other concerned parents, I am presenting parents with one last vote on this matter.

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An open letter to the board of trustees for SD76

June 7, 2017
Rick Massini
Board Chair
Medicine Hat School District 76
601 1 Ave. S.W.
Medicine Hat, AB T1A 4Y7

An open letter to the Board of Trustees of Medicine Hat School District #76

Dear Rick Massini,

For the past 15 months the Concerned Parents of SD76 have indicated to the Board our concerns over the wording and procedures for SD76’s policy 621 and 622. In February 2016, when more than 20 people showed up for the February Board meeting, Trustees made note of the unusually large crowd. In the months that followed, that crowd size only increased, and that gave significant indication to the Board that those parents had growing concerns, that were not resolved.

In March 2016, through the presentations of four different delegations, parents made clear the broad nature of their concerns. Parents continued to share yet more concerns with the board after the March 2016 Special meeting to pass 621 & 622. Throughout that meeting no one engaged in bullying or harassment. Parents simply had questions and concerns that they did not feel had been answered in the policies. Parents were then promised a Town Hall, where by they could express those concerns, and ask their questions.

Both parents and electorate were deeply disappointed when it was revealed to them in May of 2016 that they would not have a Town Hall, but instead a meeting restricted to small group discussions with other parents. Discussions where no questions could be asked of the Trustees, and no answers would be provided. Parents were in fact given the questions that they were to answer.

Parents and electorate, then feeling snubbed and condescended to, understood that they had no other recourse but to utilize Section 269 of the School act, to submit a petition calling for a public meeting. Section 269 of the Alberta School Act had never been utilized before in SD76, and had rarely been drawn on in other districts of Alberta. A section specifically designed to allow parents and electorate to force a Board to be held to account by the public, when they feel they have no other recourse.

Parents didn’t just want to drop cards into a suggestion box. They wanted to have answers to clear inconsistencies with the policies and the recommended guidelines coming from Alberta Education. When the Secretary rejected the petition in September 2016 and refused to give clarifications, stating that he was not going to “spend any more time on this,” it was clear that the matter had to go to the courts; in order to get a fair hearing.

The only way for the signatories to get the clarification that they were refused, was to appeal as was their right under the School Act. By following the process under the law, parents and electorate were able to obtain 4 key clarifications, that otherwise would have been unobtainable: the Secretary was forced to provide the clarifications he had previously refused to give; the matter of the signatures that only had postal codes was firmly resolved, with the Justice stating that the parents had a “reasonable interpretation” to expect them to be accepted, despite ultimately being told they needed to be completed/corrected; precedence was established to state that if a petition seeks to be evaluated for the “25% of the parents in a school” clause, then school information needs to be given by the signatories; most importantly the districts lawyer informed the Justice that our petition could be amended to correct deficiencies and that there was no time limit, with the Justice even referencing those statements in paragraph 18 of his ruling. Justice Tilleman also made it clear during the appeal that the petition was the property of the submitter, and that it should be returned to them upon request.

In the weeks following Justice Tilleman’s decision, parents in SD76 have diligently set about to correct the deficiencies outlined by the Justice. In doing so, 300 new signatures have been obtained thus far, and a substantial number of the ‘postal code’ signatures have been corrected. There is an expectation that an amended petition would meet the requirements under the School Act; to call a public meeting as outlined on the petition. Parents and electorate of SD76 are at a junction, and we are offering to let the Board choose the path taken.

Since the Board decided to pursue a Bill of Costs from Mr. Williamson, the Parents decided that they would not seek to have the board attend a Concerned Parents of SD76 group meeting. The Parents do not believe that a concern by the chair of the Board over “setting a precedent” was sufficient justification to pursue costs. The now 2300+ tax paying electorate who have signed the petition do not think it was a waste of their tax dollars to call a public meeting, nor do they feel it was a waste of their time to force the clarifications via appeal that had been refused by the Secretary. The entire process could have been avoided had the Board simply been willing to have official interactive dialogue with concerned parents.

At this point, considering the position that SD76 has taken, there are only two possible paths forward: Amend the petition and have the process proceed under the School Act, with all the formal procedures that accompany that; or, work with the Board to see an agreeable formal interactive meeting between concerned parents and the Board.

The Parents understand that the Board have some concerns with security and conduct at such a meeting. Parents do not wish to see such a meeting hijacked by activists, lobby groups, or media frenzy any more than the Board does. The Parents are willing to work out a format with the board that would see both parties concerns mitigated, as long as such a meeting would see both the policy concerns of the parents and the responses of the Board to those concerns recorded into the public record.

We respectfully request that the Board provide an answer as to how they would like to proceed by June 12th, 2017.

Sincerely,

The Concerned Parents of Medicine Hat School District #76

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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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