Letter to the editor 6, Feb. 9, 2017

Bullying, Intimidation and Harassment by LBPSB Chair

Dear Editor,

There was applause at the Lester B. Pearson School Board Executive Committee meeting on January 23 and the Council meeting held January 30. But, by far, the loudest was the heartfelt applause at the Parents’ Committee meeting on February 2, when it was announced that parent commissioners now have the right to vote at Council and Executive meetings.

Sadly, this means very little because the Pearson board is not a democratic institution. It is an autocratic organization managed by its chair Suanne Stein Day, who was found guilty, in 2016, on three counts of violating the board's Code of Ethics.

The complaints were about her unethical behaviour, conduct and disrespect shown toward board employees, ranging from principals and vice-principals to head office personnel.

One of the groups that complained last year, that is now, rightfully, raising alarm, is L'association québecoise des cadres scolaires (AQCS). They are Pearson senior administrators who had complained, in a letter, about "the damage caused to the reputation of our members...."

Last week, they reportedly said, “Members felt that they were being bullied, intimidated and harassed by the chair and that they could no longer continue working with that scenario.”

This matter gets worse.

Recall Stein Day was not only found guilty of breaching the Code of Ethics but also article 177.1 of the Quebec Education Act.

Basically, the law says commissioners "…must act with honesty and loyalty and in the interest of the school board and the population served by the school board."

When asked about this issue at the January 30 Council meeting, the chair disingenuously diverted attention to the matter, and, misled the public. Here's how:

In essence, she said the board was waiting for the Quebec anti-corruption squad (UPAC), and the Education Department auditors to finish their investigations.

That was not the point.

This matter is about the people who take care of our children, our grandchildren throughout the school day, and how "their legacy has been threatened by thoughtless and hurtful fabrications" by the chair.

Consider this comment from an article titled, "Candidates spar for LBPSB Chairman position" in the October 30, 2014, issue of Your Local Journal: Candidate Angela Nolet, who was long-time vice chair, said, "For several years, this school board has become a place of intimidation for some parents and a place where many of its employees feel undervalued."

For the greater good, the Pearson community must rally to ensure the board's employees are better treated by calling for Suanne Stein Day to resign.

Chris Eustace


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