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.
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.
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: email@example.com
From 11:00am – 12:00pm at
Medicine Hat Christian Reformed Church, 300 Primrose Drive SE, Medicine Hat, AB T1B 3S9
403 529 5650
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
(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:
[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.
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.
The Concerned Parents of Medicine Hat School District #76
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.
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:
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.
(6)Except where otherwise limited by law, including a parenting order, each guardian may exercise the following powers:
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 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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
Last week I gave a report on a meeting with members of the Board of SD76.
This week, a decision needs to be made on how we should proceed post petition appeal. If option (1.) is chosen, the date of the Meeting would be Saturday, May 27th. The end of the school year is approaching, and this matter needs to be cleared up before the summer break.
Below is a very quick form that would provide us with concrete information on how parents feel we should continue. This is your opportunity. The names and e-mail of those that provide feedback will never be shared publicly. We know first hand the kind of blow back you can get from having an opinion that is not in agreement with the mainstream, and we will do our utmost to protect you from any such blow back.