Letter to the editor 2, Jan 22, 2015

Dear Editor,

A revelation at the Lester B. Pearson School Board Executive Committee meeting of January 19, 2015, is yet another example of the disrespect shown by the board toward its community. The Lester B. Pearson School Board is responsible for the educational needs of the students whose English-speaking parents have chosen to send their children to the board’s schools, AND for those who have decided to homeschool, as long as they reside in the “territory served by the board.”

The first paragraph of the Pearson board “Homeschooling Policy” says so, and refers to Article 15(4) of the Quebec Education Act, which makes reference to “guidelines.” Let’s reel back to the regular Council meeting of December 15, 2014. In attendance were about 50 parents who homeschool their children. They were accompanied by their representative from the ‘Home School Legal Defence Association.’ (www.hslda.ca).

Basically, parents complained that they were left out of a consultation process involving home schooling. The representative mentioned they did not like the way “they were being treated” by the board. They claimed their “correspondence to the board was unanswered,” and in their dealings with other groups “the LBPSB was the hardest to work with.”

Fast forward: At the Executive Committee meeting of January 19, a commissioner asked the board what was happening with the ‘Homeschooling’ dossier. I was stunned to hear the board say there was no follow-up for the homeschoolers, as it was not contacted further by the association. But there was no need for further contact; the ball was clearly in the board’s court.

The Pearson board webcasts its regular council meetings but not its Executive meetings. To fully appreciate the seriousness of the aforementioned, view the December15 webcast from the 30-36 minute mark.

Listen to the homeschool spokespersons speak about this issue, which deals with, among other things, the Charter of Rights, the Quebec Education Act and the Youth Protection Act. Matters that, at times, could influence a child’s future. Moreover, listen to the Central Parents’ Committee Report and its ‘List of Priorities.’ At the 1.39 minute mark, the first priority is: “To improve communication to (and from) parents for the entire parent population.” (www.lbpsb.qc.ca) Indeed!

Chris Eustace

Pierrefonds

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